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Concept: Medical test


The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene rearrangement is a driver gene of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Positive expression of ALK gene rearrangement has been considered a molecular subtype of NSCLC, that there are special pathological characteristics and clinical prognosis. Furthermore, the tyrosine kinase inhibitor has demonstrated high effective in treating ALK positive NSCLC patients. Thus making molecular diagnostic testing for ALK expression is an important step in the process of pathological diagnosis. Currently, many detecting ALK expression assays are available or in development, clinical pathologists focus on how to choose the best method for routine diagnosis of lung cancer. There are many domestic and international authoritative guidelines recommend ALK detecting assays, technological process and relative standard. In the current review, we summarize the diagnostic tests available and the special sample types that could be used to identify patients with ALK-positive NSCLC.

Concepts: Gene expression, Cancer, Lung cancer, Non-small cell lung carcinoma, Pathology, Prognosis, Medical test, Anaplastic large cell lymphoma


Earlier detection is key to reducing cancer deaths. Here we describe a blood test that can detect eight common cancer types through assessment of the levels of circulating proteins and mutations in cell-free DNA. We applied this test, called CancerSEEK, to 1,005 patients with non-metastatic, clinically detected cancers of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colorectum, lung, or breast. CancerSEEK tests were positive in a median of 70% of the eight cancer types. The sensitivities ranged from 69% to 98% for the detection of five cancer types (ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, and esophagus) for which there are no screening tests available for average-risk individuals. The specificity of CancerSEEK was > 99%: only 7 of 812 healthy controls scored positive. In addition, CancerSEEK localized the cancer to a small number of anatomic sites in a median of 83% of the patients.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Chemotherapy, Organ, Digestion, Organs, Medical test


Background Venous thromboembolism may be the earliest sign of cancer. Currently, there is a great diversity in practices regarding screening for occult cancer in a person who has an unprovoked venous thromboembolism. We sought to assess the efficacy of a screening strategy for occult cancer that included comprehensive computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis in patients who had a first unprovoked venous thromboembolism. Methods We conducted a multicenter, open-label, randomized, controlled trial in Canada. Patients were randomly assigned to undergo limited occult-cancer screening (basic blood testing, chest radiography, and screening for breast, cervical, and prostate cancer) or limited occult-cancer screening in combination with CT. The primary outcome measure was confirmed cancer that was missed by the screening strategy and detected by the end of the 1-year follow-up period. Results Of the 854 patients who underwent randomization, 33 (3.9%) had a new diagnosis of occult cancer between randomization and the 1-year follow-up: 14 of the 431 patients (3.2%) in the limited-screening group and 19 of the 423 patients (4.5%) in the limited-screening-plus-CT group (P=0.28). In the primary outcome analysis, 4 occult cancers (29%) were missed by the limited screening strategy, whereas 5 (26%) were missed by the strategy of limited screening plus CT (P=1.0). There was no significant difference between the two study groups in the mean time to a cancer diagnosis (4.2 months in the limited-screening group and 4.0 months in the limited-screening-plus-CT group, P=0.88) or in cancer-related mortality (1.4% and 0.9%, P=0.75). Conclusions The prevalence of occult cancer was low among patients with a first unprovoked venous thromboembolism. Routine screening with CT of the abdomen and pelvis did not provide a clinically significant benefit. (Funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada; SOME number, NCT00773448 .).

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Blood, Stroke, Prostate cancer, Screening, Randomness, Medical test


The diagnostic work-up for heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) can take several days. Consequently patients may be speculatively switched onto replacement anticoagulant therapy before a diagnosis is confirmed. On-demand immunoassay diagnostic testing enables timely treatment decisions, based on test results.

Concepts: Medical terms, Diagnosis, Anticoagulant, Heparin, Thrombocytopenia, Immunoassay, Medical test, Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia


Increased early detection and personalized therapy for lung cancer have coincided with greater use of minimally invasive sampling techniques such as endobronchial ultrasound-guided biopsy (EBUS), endoscopic ultrasound-guided biopsy (EUS), and navigational biopsy, as well as thin needle core biopsies. As many lung cancer patients have late stage disease and other comorbidities that make open surgical procedures hazardous, the least invasive biopsy technique with the highest potential specimen yield is now the preferred first diagnostic study. However, use of these less invasive procedures generates significant analytical challenges for the laboratory, such as a requirement for robust detection of low level somatic mutations, particularly when the starting sample is very small or demonstrates few intact tumor cells. In this study, we assessed 179 clinical cases of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) that had been previously tested for EGFR, KRAS, NRAS, and BRAF mutations using a novel multiplexed analytic approach that reduces wild-type signal and allows for detection of low mutation load approaching 1%, iPLEX® HS panel for the MassARRAY® System (Agena Bioscience, San Diego, CA). This highly sensitive system identified approximately 10% more KRAS, NRAS, EGFR and BRAF mutations than were detected by the original test platform, which had a sensitivity range of 5-10% variant allele frequency (VAF).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Lung cancer, Non-small cell lung carcinoma, Cancer staging, Adenocarcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, Medical test


Major issues in the implementation of screening for lung cancer by means of low-dose computed tomography (CT) are the definition of a positive result and the management of lung nodules detected on the scans. We conducted a population-based prospective study to determine factors predicting the probability that lung nodules detected on the first screening low-dose CT scans are malignant or will be found to be malignant on follow-up.

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Pneumonia, Tomographic reconstruction, Solitary pulmonary nodule, Medical test


Patients with refractory or relapsed haematological malignancies have few treatment options and short survival times. Identification of effective therapies with genomic-based precision medicine is hampered by intratumour heterogeneity and incomplete understanding of the contribution of various mutations within specific cancer phenotypes. Ex-vivo drug-response profiling in patient biopsies might aid effective treatment identification; however, proof of its clinical utility is limited.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Cancer, Patient, Pathology, Illness, Lymphoma, Medical test


Smoking cessation was examined among a subset of current smokers who were high-risk participants in the UK Lung Cancer Screening (UKLS) pilot trial of low-dose CT screening.

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Tobacco smoking, Passive smoking, Smoking cessation, Medical test


The UK Lung Cancer Screening (UKLS) trial is a randomised pilot trial of low-dose CT (LDCT) screening for individuals at high risk of lung cancer. We assessed the long-term psychosocial impact on individuals participating in the UKLS trial.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Randomized controlled trial, Tobacco smoking, Medical test


These updated guidelines on the management of abnormal liver blood tests have been commissioned by the Clinical Services and Standards Committee (CSSC) of the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) under the auspices of the liver section of the BSG. The original guidelines, which this document supersedes, were written in 2000 and have undergone extensive revision by members of the Guidelines Development Group (GDG). The GDG comprises representatives from patient/carer groups (British Liver Trust, Liver4life, PBC Foundation and PSC Support), elected members of the BSG liver section (including representatives from Scotland and Wales), British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL), Specialist Advisory Committee in Clinical Biochemistry/Royal College of Pathology and Association for Clinical Biochemistry, British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (BSPGHAN), Public Health England (implementation and screening), Royal College of General Practice, British Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiologists (BSGAR) and Society of Acute Medicine. The quality of evidence and grading of recommendations was appraised using the AGREE II tool. These guidelines deal specifically with the management of abnormal liver blood tests in children and adults in both primary and secondary care under the following subheadings: (1) What constitutes an abnormal liver blood test? (2) What constitutes a standard liver blood test panel? (3) When should liver blood tests be checked? (4) Does the extent and duration of abnormal liver blood tests determine subsequent investigation? (5) Response to abnormal liver blood tests. They are not designed to deal with the management of the underlying liver disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Blood, Liver, Liver function tests, Hepatology, Medical tests, Medical test, Blood test