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Nat Med. 2007 Mar;13(3):361-6. Epub 2007 Mar 4.

Airway epithelial gene expression in the diagnostic evaluation of smokers with suspect lung cancer.

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  • 1The Pulmonary Center, Boston University Medical Center, 715 Albany Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA. aspira@bu.edu

Abstract

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the US and the world. The high mortality rate (80-85% within 5 years) results, in part, from a lack of effective tools to diagnose the disease at an early stage. Given that cigarette smoke creates a field of injury throughout the airway, we sought to determine if gene expression in histologically normal large-airway epithelial cells obtained at bronchoscopy from smokers with suspicion of lung cancer could be used as a lung cancer biomarker. Using a training set (n = 77) and gene-expression profiles from Affymetrix HG-U133A microarrays, we identified an 80-gene biomarker that distinguishes smokers with and without lung cancer. We tested the biomarker on an independent test set (n = 52), with an accuracy of 83% (80% sensitive, 84% specific), and on an additional validation set independently obtained from five medical centers (n = 35). Our biomarker had approximately 90% sensitivity for stage 1 cancer across all subjects. Combining cytopathology of lower airway cells obtained at bronchoscopy with the biomarker yielded 95% sensitivity and a 95% negative predictive value. These findings indicate that gene expression in cytologically normal large-airway epithelial cells can serve as a lung cancer biomarker, potentially owing to a cancer-specific airway-wide response to cigarette smoke.

PMID:
17334370
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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