VolitionRx Limited recently announced initial data showing a high level of accuracy and specificity in the use of its NuQ® blood tests in the detection of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in lung tissues and most often occurs in people with a history of smoking. In the U.S., approximately 220,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, making it one of the most common cancer types in men and women.
From a diagnostic perspective, symptoms of lung cancer often emerge when the disease is already at an advanced stage and little can be done to treat or cure the patient. However, VolitionRx believes that early and non-invasive detection of this cancer is possible by means of biomarker technology and blood tests.
The company, in collaboration with Liege University Hospital in Belgium, is conducting a large clinical study in 240 subjects. The initial results come from an interim analysis of outcomes in the first 73 patients recruited, of which 29 were diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer and 22 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The remaining 22 are healthy controls.
The results suggested that, when combined with data from patients’ smoking history, NuQ blood tests are accurate in detecting lung cancer 93% of the time (27 out of 29 patients) and specific at 91% (among 22 healthy controls, there was 2 false positive results).
“The NuQ blood test not only differentiates lung cancer from healthy subjects but also from the common lung disease, COPD, which is related to tobacco consumption. The best current test for lung cancer is a scan that has high accuracy but does not distinguish well between cancerous and non-cancerous fibrous nodules in the lung, leading to a high false positive rate. Our interim data are exciting because they show both high sensitivity and very few false positives, indicating that a simple NuQ blood test, used alone or in conjunction with current standards, may detect lung cancer and distinguish it from other lung diseases,” said Dr. Jake Micallef, PhD, VolitionRx Chief Scientific Officer, in a press release.
Full results from this clinical study are expected in 2016, along with results from another study of 600 lung cancer patients conducted in collaboration with the University Hospital Bonn in Germany.
“To be detecting more than 90% of cancers in this blinded trial is extremely exciting,” said Cameron Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer of VolitionRx. “Using only a drop of blood, our NuQ tests aim to be affordable, patient friendly, and to be as easy to use as they are simple to perform on existing hospital laboratory instruments.”
In addition to this study, VolitionRx’s biomarker assays are being used in other clinical trials, including colorectal cancer, pre-cancerous colorectal adenomas, and 27 of the most prevalent cancers, including prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometriosis.