Blood tests track lung cancer gene changes, aiding treatment

BOSTON (AP) Researchers in England have taken an important step toward better lung cancer treatment. Using experimental tests that detect bits of DNA that tumors shed into the blood, they were able to track genetic changes in early-stage cases over time, so treatment could be adjusted.

The tests also revealed recurrences in some patients up to a year before imaging scans could, giving people a chance to try new therapy sooner.

It's the latest development from so-called liquid biopsy tests. The ones used in the studies are not available for routine use yet, but doctors hope they will be within a few years. Results were published Wednesday by Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine.