WASHINGTON – Clinical Chemistry, the journal of AACC, has published a special issue devoted to the subject of cancer. With cancer surpassing cardiovascular disease as the number one killer in the Western world, the issue provides a cutting edge update on the state of cancer research in laboratory medicine today. The issue includes nearly 50 articles covering a wide range of topics, including companion diagnostics, the modeling of cancer initiation and progression, novel cancer therapies such as chemoprevention and targeting the tumor microenvironment, and the potential of genomics and metabolomics to improve personalized cancer management.

One paper of note delves into Chan et al.’s findings that cancer patient plasma carries tumor-derived DNA that can be scanned using shotgun massively parallel sequencing. This marks the first time that technology has enabled the analysis of cancer genomes without requiring patients to undergo invasive tissue biopsies. Facilitating this analysis process could improve early cancer diagnosis and personalized therapy selection, leading to better patient health outcomes.

Many articles in the issue also focus on specific types of cancer, from aplastic anemia and ovarian carcinomas to oral, pancreatic, breast, and brain cancer. Prostate cancer is also well covered, reflecting the current search for a biomarker that is more reliable than the extensively used prostate-specific antigen. The issue also spotlights the discovery, validation, and development of cancer biomarkers in general, and evaluates their overall utility.  

Overall, progress in the fight against cancer has gone much more slowly than anticipated. But while the diverse articles in Clinical Chemistry’s special issue highlight the major challenges cancer researchers will face in the next 10 years, they also show great promise for new advances in diagnostics and therapeutics to combat this devastating disease.

About AACC

Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of breaking laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit www.aacc.org.