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Concept: 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


Fluorescent sensors capable of recognizing cancer-associated glycans, such as sialyl Lewis X (sLe(x)) tetrasaccharide, have great potential for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Studies on water-soluble and biocompatible sensors for in situ recognition of cancer-associated glycans in live cells and targeted imaging of cancer cells are very limited at present. Here we report boronic acid-functionalized peptide-based fluorescent sensors (BPFSs) for in situ recognition and differentiation of cancer-associated glycans, as well as targeted imaging of cancer cells. By screening BPFSs with different structures, it was demonstrated that BPFS1 with a FRGDF peptide could recognize cell-surface glycan of sLe(x) with high specificity and thereafter fluorescently label and discriminate cancer cells through the cooperation with the specific recognition between RGD and integrins. The newly developed peptide-based sensor will find great potential as a fluorescent probe for cancer diagnosis.

Concepts: Gene expression, Cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Prostate cancer, Medical test, Sialyl lewis x, CD15, Oligosaccharides


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


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


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


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


Recurrence will develop in 30-50% of colorectal cancer (CRC) cases despite apparent clearance following treatment. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is the only guideline-recommended blood test for monitoring cases for recurrence, but its sensitivity and specificity are suboptimal. This observational study compared a novel 2-gene (methylated BCAT1 and IKZF1 DNA) blood test with CEA for detection of recurrent CRC. We conducted a paired comparison of the BCAT1/IKZF1 test with CEA (cut-off 5 ng/mL) in blood from patients in remission after treatment for primary CRC and undergoing surveillance. Blood collected in the 12 months prior to or 3 months after complete investigational assessment of recurrence status were assayed and the results compared by McNemar’s test. Of 397 patients enrolled, 220 underwent satisfactory assessment for recurrence and 122 had blood testing performed within the prescribed period. In 28 cases with recurrent CRC, CEA was positive in 9 (32%; 95% CI 16-52%) compared to 19 (68%; 95% CI 48-84%) positive for methylated BCAT1/IKZF1 (P = 0.002). All samples that were CEA positive were also BCAT1/IKZF1 positive. In 94 patients without clinically detectable recurrence, CEA was positive in 6 (6%, 95% CI 2-13%) and BCAT1/IKZF1 in 12 (13%, 95% CI 7-21%), P = 0.210. The odds ratio of a positive CEA test for recurrence was 6.9 (95% CI 2-22) compared to 14.4 (5-39) for BCAT1/IKZF1. The BCAT1/IKZF1 test was more sensitive for recurrence than CEA and the odds of recurrence given a positive test was twice that of CEA. The BCAT1/IKZF1 test should be further considered for monitoring cases for recurrence.

Concepts: Blood, Positive predictive value, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Medical test