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Abstract | Full HTML Article | PDF ecancer 11 717 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.717

Research

Circulating and tissue biomarkers in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer

Objective: We sought to characterise circulating and tissue tumour biomarkers of patients who developed early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) during long-term follow-up of a chemoprevention trial (NCT00321893).

Materials and Methods: Blood and sputum samples were collected from 202 high-risk asymptomatic individuals with CT-detected stable lung nodules. Real-time PCR was performed on plasma to quantify free circulating DNA. Baseline serum was investigated with a previously validated test based on 13 circulating miRNAs (miR-Test). Promoter methylation status of p16, RASSF1a and RARβ2 and telomerase activity were assessed in sputum samples. DNA was extracted from each tumour developed during follow-up and subjected to a mutation survey using the LungCarta panel on the Sequenom MassARRAY platform.

Results: During follow-up (9 years) six individuals underwent surgery for stage I NSCLC with a median time of disease onset of 20.5 months. MiR-Test scores were positive (range: 0.14–7.24) in four out of six baseline pre-disease onset sera. No association was identified between free circulating DNA or sputum biomarkers and disease onset. All tumours harboured at least one somatic mutation in well-known cancer genes, including KRAS (n = 4), BRAF (n = 1), and TP53 (n = 3).

Conclusion: Circulating miRNA tests may represent valuable tools to detect clinically-silent tumours. Early-stage lung adenocarcinomas harbour recurrent genetic events similar to those described in advanced-stage NSCLCs.

Keywords: non-small cell lung cancer; early detection; circulating biomarker; somatic mutation

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Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

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Cancer Intelligence