Healthy tissue may predict lung cancer return better than tumors

This three-dimensional illustration shows a type of cancer called adenocarcinoma. (Image credit: Nemes Laszlo via Getty Images)

It may be possible to predict whether a person’s lung cancer could return after surgery by zooming in on the seemingly healthy tissue near their tumors, a lab study suggests. 

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. One of the most common types is lung adenocarcinoma, which arises in the cells that line the air sacs of the lungs. The usual treatment for the early stages of this disease, before the cancer has spread, is surgery to remove the tumor. However, even when caught at this early stage, cancers like adenocarcinoma return 30% of the time, and so far there has been no accurate way to predict whether this will occur. 

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