Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) analysis can be used as a prognostic tool for predicting progression of lung cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

The study involved 446 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, whose blood samples were analysed.

Researchers determined levels of hTERT, as a surrogate of circulating DNA, before the patients underwent combination chemotherapy with cisplatin and docetaxel.

The study results showed that patients with hTERT levels below 49.8ng/ml had a median time to progression (TTP) of 6.3 months, compared to 4.9 months for patients with hTERT of more than 49.8ng/ml.

Patients having lower hTERT levels had higher overall survival, at 10.9 months versus 9.3 months for patients with higher hTERT.