|A Blood Test to Detect Throat Cancer|
Schmalfeldt: And now, Wally Akinso with some possible good news for folks suffering from throat cancer.
Akinso: A blood test that detects proteins commonly released by a growing tumor could one day become a tool for monitoring the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation treatment in people with advanced throat cancer, according to a study by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the National Cancer Institute. Scientists found that throat cancer patients who showed a decline in several cancer-related proteins following chemotherapy and radiation treatment were more likely to remain in remission, while those who experienced a large rise over time in those proteins frequently exhibited a return of throat cancer. In the study, researchers tested the blood of 30 patients who had undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment for advanced throat cancer. Dr. Carter VanWaes NIDCD's Chief of the Head and Neck Surgery Branch, talked about the findings.
VanWaes: The study showed that blood levels of most of the factors went down in the patients who responded well and went into long-term remission. But the blood levels rose in those patients who had a relapse of cancer, in some cases, before doctors could see them.
Akinso: Dr. VanWaes added that the findings could help lead to the development of a blood test that enables doctors to detect the recurrence of throat cancer early on, when there is still time to pursue a second line of treatment, such as surgery or drug therapy.
VanWaes: Doctors hope that someday soon blood test like this will lead to earlier diagnosis and help them advise their patients about which treatments might be best for different types of cancer. And new drugs targeting a master switch controlling these factors are being studied at NIH and elsewhere for throat and other cancers.
Akinso: Dr. VanWaes said that the importance of this study is that it presents the ability to have a test that can be used for individual patients and show whether or not they're responding to their treatment or if the cancer is coming back. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda Maryland.