Lahey Hospital & Medical Center First in New England to Offer Advanced Genome Technology to aid in Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Innovative procedure significantly increases the certainty of bronchoscopy results

BURLINGTON, MA (February 17, 2016) – Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) is proud to announce that it is the first medical center in New England to offer enrollment in advanced genomic testing to patients found to have indeterminate lung nodules on CT scan imaging. The molecular test LHMC is using, called the Percepta Bronchial Genomic Classifier is an innovative tool to help physicians evaluate lung nodules and better determine whether spots found on patients’ lungs are benign or malignant, and may reduce the risks associated with biopsies .

When a CT scan shows a lung nodule or lesion, physicians commonly perform bronchoscopy, a relatively safe, non-surgical diagnostic procedure that enables physicians to access the patient’s airways via a scope to visualize and collect suspicious cells. Forty percent of the time, bronchoscopies produce inconclusive results, meaning that cancer cannot be immediately ruled out. Traditional follow-up procedures are invasive, and potentially unnecessary, leading physicians and patients to decide together whether to risk a needle biopsy or surgery, or monitor the nodule for more clear signs of cancer.

With Percepta, LHMC pulmonologists and Translational Research scientists use a small brush to collect cell samples from a specific location in the lung at the same time they are performing the initial bronchoscopy. If the bronchoscopy results are inconclusive, these samples are sent to a laboratory in South San Francisco for state-of-the-art genomic testing.

“Lung Cancer is the number-one cause of cancer deaths in the United States, but early detection can significantly increase survival rates,” said Carla Lamb, MD, Director of Interventional Pulmonology at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “The availability of a less invasive, highly predictive test that adds more certainty when deciding whether or not a patient should undergo more aggressive testing can have a significant impact. That’s why we are thrilled to be able to offer an advanced test like this to our patients. It may reduce unnecessary surgery for a number of our patients.”

Percepta has been shown to identify patients at “low risk” with better than 90 percent accuracy. These patients may then be monitored with CT scans in lieu of undergoing invasive diagnostic procedures. The test was also shown to increase the accuracy and utility of bronchoscopy. When used in conjunction with bronchoscopy, the test showed 97 percent sensitivity (ability to detect those patients who are truly positive for cancer).

The Percepta Bronchial Genomic Classifier was created by the diagnostics company Veracyte, which made the test available to a limited number of U.S. institutions in 2015. LHMC’s department of Pulmonary and Critical Care is participating in Veracyte’s research trial aimed at understanding how this test is being used in a clinical setting, and are also making the Percepta test available to its patients.

In 2015, more than eight million Americans at high risk for lung cancer became eligible for low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screenings through Medicare or other insurance. This means more nodules and lesions will likely be found, making Percepta a significant option for many.

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is a pioneer and leader in LDCT and has the largest clinical lung cancer screening program in the country.

About Lahey Health

Lahey Health is what’s next in health care, providing a full continuum of integrated health services close to where you live or work. It is comprised of nationally recognized, award-winning hospitals—including an academic hospital and medical center, and community hospitals—primary care providers, specialist physicians, behavioral health services, post-acute programs such as home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, and senior care resources located throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

Lahey Health offers nearly 1,400 locally based physicians providing clinical excellence and an exceptional patient experience in adult and pediatric primary care and every medical specialty, including kidney and liver transplantation; neurosurgery, cancer, cardiovascular , pulmonary and critical care, and orthopedic medical and surgical care; local emergency and trauma care; urological surgery; chronic disease prevention and health management; and pediatric emergency, newborn and inpatient care provided in collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital physicians.

Lahey Health includes Lahey Hospital & Medical Center—a teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine—and Lahey Clinic physician group with practices in Burlington, Peabody and other locations throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire; Beverly Hospital; Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Mass.; Winchester Hospital; Lahey Health Senior Care and Lahey Health Behavioral Services as well as more than 30 primary care physician practices and multiple outpatient and satellite specialty care facilities.

Together, we are making innovative, integrated healthcare more personal and more accessible. For more information, visit LaheyHealth.org and its member websites Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Beverly Hospital, Winchester Hospital, and Lahey Health Behavioral Services. 


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