• Cancer

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Blood-based lung cancer test shows promise

Hand with latex glove holding vial of bloodIn a new study by Mayo Clinic and the molecular diagnostics company Exact Sciences, a blood-based cancer test has shown high accuracy for detecting lung cancer at all stages.

"We were very pleased to see those results," says Dr. David Ahlquist, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist who previously worked with Exact Sciences to develop a colon cancer test called Cologuard. "This new test approach that targets novel DNA markers had a sensitivity of 96 percent for lung cancer detection at 94 percent specificity."

Doctors say further research is needed, but the test shows promise for becoming a valuable new tool in the fight against lung cancer, the No. 1 cancer killer in the U.S.

"We know we can save lives if we find it early enough," says Dr. David Midthun, a Mayo Clinic pulmonologist. "And, potentially, we could find it even earlier with a blood test than with a CT scan."

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Drs. Ahlquist and Midthun explain how the test works and why it has the potential to change the way you’re screened for lung cancer. Jeff Olsen reports.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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Journalists: Broadcast-quality video is in the downloads. Read the Mayo Clinic Minute script (1:00).