Clinical validation of a blood-based classifier for diagnostic evaluation of asymptomatic individuals with pulmonary nodules.

Author(s): Birse CE,  Tomic JL,  Pass HI,  Rom WN,  Lagier RJ

Journal: Clin Proteomics

Date: 2017

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): PLCO

PubMed ID: 28694742

PMC ID: PMC5498919

Abstract: BACKGROUND: The number of pulmonary nodules detected in the US is expected to increase substantially following recent recommendations for nationwide CT-based lung cancer screening. Given the low specificity of CT screening, non-invasive adjuvant methods are needed to differentiate cancerous lesions from benign nodules to help avoid unnecessary invasive procedures in the asymptomatic population. We have constructed a serum-based multi-biomarker panel and assessed its clinical accuracy in a retrospective analysis of samples collected from participants with suspicious radiographic findings in the Prostate, Lung, Chest and Ovarian (PLCO) cancer screening trial. METHODS: Starting with a set of 9 candidate biomarkers, we identified 8 that exhibited limited pre-analytical variability with increasing clotting time, a key pre-analytical variable associated with the collection of serum. These 8 biomarkers were evaluated in a training study consisting of 95 stage I NSCLC patients and 186 smoker controls where a 5-biomarker pulmonary nodule classifier (PNC) was selected. The clinical accuracy of the PNC was determined in a blinded study of asymptomatic individuals comprising 119 confirmed malignant nodule cases and 119 benign nodule controls selected from the PLCO screening trial. RESULTS: A PNC comprising 5 biomarkers: CEA, CYFRA 21-1, OPN, SCC, and TFPI, was selected in the training study. In an independent validation study, the PNC resolved lung cancer cases from benign nodule controls with an AUC of 0.653 (p < 0.0001). CEA and CYFRA 21-1, two of the markers included in the PNC, also accurately distinguished malignant lesions from benign controls. CONCLUSIONS: A 5-biomarker blood test has been developed for the diagnostic evaluation of asymptomatic individuals with solitary pulmonary nodules.