March 8, 2009

Diagnostic Test Approved for Differentiating Between Types of Lung Cancer


Diagnostic Test Approved for Differentiating Between Types of Lung Cancer

A diagnostic test using MicroRNA technology has received regulatory approval to differentiate between the two main types of non–small cell lung cancer: squamous and non-squamous cell. These results were recently released in a press release by Rosetta Genomics Ltd.

Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 75-80% of all lung cancers in the United States. There are several subcategories of NSCLC, which further differentiate the type of cell within the lung where the cancer originated. Sqamous and non-squamous cell NSCLC are two main types of NSCLC.

As therapy for cancer progresses towards targeted therapies, more precise diagnoses are becoming increasingly important as a way to determine eligibility for these agents, whoser efficacy can depend on certain characteristics of the cancer. For example, Avastin® (bevacizumab), an agent targeted against the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), has demonstrated greater effectiveness against non-squamous NSCLC than squamous SCLC and has demonstrated a greater incidence of fatal bleeding among patients with squamous versus non-squamous NSCLC; such outcomes explain why greater accuracy of diagnoses is becoming more important in this new treatment era.

MicroRNA are small ribonucleic acids, which are molecules involved in the regulation of protein activity in the body on a genetic level. Recently discovered, microRNAs may provide a platform for greater diagnostic accuracy or an important target for therapies in the future.

The diagnostic test using MicroRNA technology utilizes a sample of a patient’s cancer tissue and can accurately identify squamous-cell NSCLC more than 90% of the time.

Patients diagnosed with NSCLC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits associated with undergoing the new microRNA test, which is now approved for clinical use by the New York State Department of Health Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program and is expected to be available nationwide at the end of 2008.

Reference: Rosetta Genomics, Ltd. First Cancer Diagnostic Test Based on Rosetta Genomics’ Proprietary MicroRNA Technology Receives Regulatory Approval. Available at: Accessed July 2008.

Related News: Molecular Profiles Help Predict Prognosis in Lung Cancer (3/15/2006)

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