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Cancer Res. 2006 Aug 1;66(15):7466-72.

Gene expression signatures for predicting prognosis of squamous cell and adenocarcinomas of the lung.

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Molecular Diagnostics, Veridex LLC-a Johnson & Johnson Company, 3210 Merryfriend Row, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


Non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLC) compose 80% of all lung carcinomas with squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and adenocarcinoma representing the majority of these tumors. Although patients with early-stage NSCLC typically have a better outcome, 35% to 50% will relapse within 5 years after surgical treatment. We have profiled primary squamous cell lung carcinomas from 129 patients using Affymetrix U133A gene chips. Unsupervised analysis revealed two clusters of SCC that had no correlation with tumor stage but had significantly different overall patient survival (P = 0.036). The high-risk cluster was most significantly associated with down-regulation of epidermal development genes. Cox proportional hazard models identified an optimal set of 50 prognostic mRNA transcripts using a 5-fold cross-validation procedure. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR and immunohistochemistry using tissue microarrays were used to validate individual gene candidates. This signature was tested in an independent set of 36 SCC samples and achieved 84% specificity and 41% sensitivity with an overall predictive accuracy of 68%. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed clear stratification of high-risk and low-risk patients [log-rank P = 0.04; hazard ratio (HR), 2.66; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.01-7.05]. Finally, we combined the SCC classifier with our previously identified adenocarcinoma prognostic signature and showed that the combined classifier had a predictive accuracy of 71% in 72 NSCLC samples also showing significant differences in overall survival (log-rank P = 0.0002; HR, 3.54; 95% CI, 1.74-7.19). This prognostic signature could be used to identify patients with early-stage high-risk NSCLC who might benefit from adjuvant therapy following surgery.

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