"Recent results indicate that low-dose computed tomography (LD-CT) screening reduces lung cancer mortality in high risk subjects. However, high false positive rates, costs and potential harm highlight the need for complementary biomarkers. Led by Dr Ugo Pastorino, a group of researchers from Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy, retrospectively evaluated a non-invasive plasma miRNA signature classifier in prospectively collected samples from smokers within the randomised Multicentre Italian Lung Detection (MILD) trial. Their findings indicate that microRNA signature classifier has predictive, diagnostic and prognostic value and its combined use with LD-CT may improve screening performance. The results were presented in a proffered papers session at the 4th European Lung Cancer Conference (26-29 March 2014, Geneva, Switzerland)."

Editor's note: LD-CT is a lung cancer detection method that has been shown to reduce risk of death from lung cancer for high-risk patients. However, it sometimes leads to "false-positives," in which suspected cancer later turns out not to be cancer. A new, non-invasive blood test to look for specific kinds of miRNA molecules was shown to be promising as a potential companion test to complement LD-CT screening.