Lung Cancer Screening Beyond Low-Dose Computed Tomography: The Role of Novel Biomarkers
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- Hasan, N., Kumar, R. & Kavuru, M.S. Lung (2014) 192: 639. doi:10.1007/s00408-014-9636-z
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Lung cancer is the most common and lethal malignancy in the world. The landmark National lung screening trial (NLST) showed a 20 % relative reduction in mortality in high-risk individuals with screening low-dose computed tomography. However, the poor specificity and low prevalence of lung cancer in the NLST provide major limitations to its widespread use. Furthermore, a lung nodule on CT scan requires a nuanced and individualized approach towards management. In this regard, advances in high through-put technology (molecular diagnostics, multi-gene chips, proteomics, and bronchoscopic techniques) have led to discovery of lung cancer biomarkers that have shown potential to complement the current screening standards. Early detection of lung cancer can be achieved by analysis of biomarkers from tissue samples within the respiratory tract such as sputum, saliva, nasal/bronchial airway epithelial cells and exhaled breath condensate or through peripheral biofluids such as blood, serum and urine. Autofluorescence bronchoscopy has been employed in research setting to identify pre-invasive lesions not identified on CT scan. Although these modalities are not yet commercially available in clinic setting, they will be available in the near future and clinicians who care for patients with lung cancer should be aware. In this review, we present up-to-date state of biomarker development, discuss their clinical relevance and predict their future role in lung cancer management.