Those who are interested in obtaining phlebotomy certification have a lot of reasons to get excited, as recent studies indicate that blood tests can predict the efficiency of the treatment with erlotinib in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. Such a discovery will mostly benefit the patient, as he will no longer have to undergo invasive procedures, namely having samples extracted for biopsy. The biopsy performed on the tissue samples usually involves discovering the number of receptors present in the tumors via fluorescent in situ hybridization techniques. However, the same thing can be easily discovered by analyzing the proteomic profiles in the blood samples.
The advantage of the FISH technique over the laboratory procedures resides in the fact that the method permits the localization and study of the cells in their natural habitat. On the other hand, the major limitation of the fluorescent in situ hybridization sits in the probes preparation process. In short, preparing the probes is a highly complex process that focuses on tailoring each of them for specific sequences of DNA. In addition, calculating the number of probe-stained clusters of cells is quite challenging.
It is important to note that the discrepancy between the accuracy of prediction between the two methods is significant. Essentially, the biopsy requires an adequate sample of tissue and can foretell the benefits in about 22% of the patients. On the other hand, the blood test can predict the proteomic status accurately in 99% of the cases. Consequentially, this shows that the blood test performed by professionals with phlebotomy certification can help detect the lung cancer patients with a good prognosis and start the treatment earlier. Nonetheless, there is need for further research in this direction in order to get a clear answer on the comparison between chemotherapy and the epidermal growth-factor receptor inhibitors.
With regards to the patient’s survival rate, the data indicates that erlotinib managed to increase the patients’ life by approximately two months when it was administered regularly. As a side note, erlotinib is typically prescribed to patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer and that usually have no benefit from chemotherapy. Indirectly, this suggests that early detection via blood tests and quick intervention could change the prognosis of the patient in certain circumstances. A study conducted by the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle shows a 9.8% response rate in patients with good proteomic profiles.
Essentially, the blood test can eliminate the need for constant radiography for individuals who are suspected of lung cancer. It is estimated that even though there are approximately 150 thousand X-rays performed annually, only a quarter of them are actually indicating the presence of abnormalities. To put it simply, blood tests present fewer risks and are more cost-effective compared to radiographies. All research done so far seems to indicate that the blood tests are doing extremely well when detecting cancer early via a biomarker panel. In fact, certain medical researching teams have stated that they are currently working on tests that can identify lung cancer three to five years before it reaches the maximum size.