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Oncology. 2006;70(3):203-11. Epub 2006 Jun 29.

Combined detection of CEA, CK-19 and c-met mRNAs in peripheral blood: a highly sensitive panel for potential molecular diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer.

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MedicoGenomic Research Center, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



Detection of tumor-related mRNA in blood has become a potential cancer diagnostic approach. However, the sensitivity of single-marker assays is not high enough for clinical applications. The present study was aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a multimarker panel for molecular diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), cytokeratin 19 (CK-19), c-met and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) B1 mRNAs were quantified by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in 34 tumor tissues and 69 peripheral blood samples of NSCLC patients.


All four markers displayed high overexpression rates (range 82.3-97.1%) in NSCLC tumors. When used as single markers in blood for NSCLC diagnosis, CEA, CK-19, c-met and hnRNP B1 could only reach sensitivities of 52.2, 50.7, 42 and 17.4%, respectively. However, the sensitivity was enhanced up to 85.5% when CEA, CK-19 and c-met were combined in a 3-marker panel. Moreover, the expression of c-met and hnRNP B1 in blood was significantly correlated with patients' pathological stages.


The combined detection of CEA, CK-19 and c-met mRNAs in blood provided a valuable tool for molecular diagnosis of NSCLC. In addition, our results also suggested that hnRNP B1 was not a valuable diagnostic marker but a potential prognostic marker for NSCLC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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