Which lab studies are indicated in the workup of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

For staging purposes, a complete blood count (CBC) should be obtained in every patient, especially before instituting chemotherapy. In an emergency setting, a CBC is not helpful in the initial evaluation. Obtain a CBC in patients with widely metastatic disease to aid in determining whether an infiltrate is potentially infectious. Obtain a CBC in patients with fever who have a recent history of chemotherapy to check for neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count < 1000/μL).

Lung cancers have a propensity to cause paraneoplastic syndromes (see the table below). Appropriate studies in such patients may include assays of serum electrolytes, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, calcium, and magnesium.

Non–small cell lung cancer. Symptoms and signs of Non–small cell lung cancer. Symptoms and signs of lung cancer.

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