A patient looks at a lung x-ray with a physician. A patient looks at a lung x-ray with a physician.

Veracyte’s approach to improving lung cancer diagnosis

About the challenges of lung cancer diagnosis

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with an estimated 1.8 million deaths reported in 2020.1 Noticeable lung cancer symptoms often do not appear until the disease has progressed. As a result, many people are not diagnosed with lung cancer until it has spread and is difficult to treat.2

Early detection of lung cancer is key to saving lives. Lung nodules, or spots on the lung, can be an early indicator of lung cancer. Lung nodules are typically found using computed tomography (CT) scans. In the US, approximately 15 million people are eligible for annual lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans based on their smoking history and other factors.3 Despite this, most lung nodules (approximately 1.6 million4) are currently found incidentally when a patient is evaluated with a CT scan for an unrelated condition.5

Finding lung nodules, however, is not enough. This is because while lung nodules may be an early indicator for cancer, most are not actually cancerous.6 Today, once a lung nodule is found, physicians have limited tools to help accurately determine which patients have cancer and which do not. This uncertainty can lead to unnecessary diagnostic procedures or to potentially delayed lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Veracyte is committed to developing tests that better help physicians guide next steps for patients with lung nodules. Ultimately, we believe this can help make lung cancer screening more efficient and effective.


patients in the US are eligible for annual lung cancer screening.3


nodules are found incidentally each year in the US.4


Learn about our exceptional lung cancer diagnostics.

Identifying unmet needs through listening and collaboration

At Veracyte, we seek to understand where we can apply cutting-edge technology to best address unmet needs for physicians and their patients. Through our close work with lung cancer physicians and researchers, we knew that low-dose CT scans are highly effective at detecting lung nodules. However, since most lung nodules are not cancerous, their detection can result in unnecessary diagnostic procedures and anxiety for patients. We determined that we could improve care by developing a test that could provide insights to help physicians objectively identify which patients with lung nodules to work up for lung cancer and which patients to simply monitor with imaging.

Veracyte’s Percepta Nasal Swab provides physicians with accurate, objective results that can help guide treatment management for patients with lung nodules. Having access to this simple tool could help shape the future of lung nodule management.”

Medical Director for Pulmonology, Veracyte

A physician listens to a patient’s chest with a stethoscope.


Objectively assessing lung cancer risk in patients with lung nodules using the Percepta® Nasal Swab test

Veracyte’s Percepta Nasal Swab test is a simple, noninvasive tool designed to assess lung cancer risk in patients with lung nodules found on CT scans. The novel test has been shown to identify with high accuracy which patients with lung nodules are low risk for cancer so that they may potentially avoid unnecessary invasive procedures, and which patients are high risk so that they may proceed to further diagnostic work-up and appropriate treatment, if needed.7 The test was developed with RNA whole-transcriptome and machine-learning technology. It utilizes foundational “field of injury” science, which evaluates genomic changes associated with lung cancer that can be found in the nasal passages of current and former smokers.8,9 The Percepta Nasal Swab is currently available to hospitals and clinics that are participating in Veracyte’s NIGHTINGALE trial to assess the impact of its use on patient care.

Two men laugh together at the beach.

Learn about Veracyte's Percepta Nasal Swab test


  1. Cancer. World Health Organization. Published February 2, 2022. Accessed August 1, 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer

  2. Cancer Facts & Figures 2023. American Cancer Society. Accessed August 1, 2023. 

  3. New Report: Critically Low Lung Cancer Screening Rates Reveal Opportunity to Save More Lives. American Lung Association. Published November 15, 2022. Accessed August 1, 2023.

  4. Gould MK, et al. AJRCCM. 2015.

  5. State of Lung Cancer 2022. American Lung Association. Accessed August 1, 2023. https://www.lung.org/getmedia/647c433b-4cbc-4be6-9312-2fa9a449d489/solc-2022-print-report

  6. Aberle DR. N Engl J Med. 2011.

  7. Lamb C. Oral presentation at CHEST Annual Meeting. October 2021. Virtual format.

  8. Perez-Rogers JF, et al. J Nat Cancer Inst. 2017.

  9. Spira A, et al. Nat Med. 2007.

The Percepta Nasal Swab test is offered in the US as part of Veracyte’s CLIA-validated laboratory developed test (LDT) service. This test has not been cleared or approved by the FDA. 

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