Scientific publications

Molecular biomarkers in early stage lung cancer

Feb 1, 2021 | Magazine: Translational Lung Cancer Research

María Rodríguez, Daniel Ajona, Luis M Seijo, Julián Sanz, Karmele Valencia, Jesús Corral, Miguel Mesa-Guzmán, Rubén Pío, Alfonso Calvo, María D Lozano, Javier J Zulueta, Luis M Montuenga


Low dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening, together with the recent advances in targeted and immunotherapies, have shown to improve non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survival. Furthermore, screening has increased the number of early stage-detected tumors, allowing for surgical resection and multimodality treatments when needed. The need for improved sensitivity and specificity of NSCLC screening has led to increased interest in combining clinical and radiological data with molecular data.

The development of biomarkers is poised to refine inclusion criteria for LDCT screening programs. Biomarkers may also be useful to better characterize the risk of indeterminate nodules found in the course of screening or to refine prognosis and help in the management of screening detected tumors. The clinical implications of these biomarkers are still being investigated and whether or not biomarkers will be included in further decision-making algorithms in the context of screening and early lung cancer management still needs to be determined.

However, it seems clear that there is much room for improvement even in early stage lung cancer disease-free survival (DFS) rates; thus, biomarkers may be the key to refine risk-stratification and treatment of these patients. Clinicians' capacity to register, integrate, and analyze all the available data in both high risk individuals and early stage NSCLC patients will lead to a better understanding of the disease's mechanisms, and will have a direct impact in diagnosis, treatment, and follow up of these patients.

In this review, we aim to summarize all the available data regarding the role of biomarkers in LDCT screening and early stage NSCLC from a multidisciplinary perspective. We have highlighted clinical implications, the need to combine risk stratification, clinical data, radiomics, molecular information and artificial intelligence in order to improve clinical decision-making, especially regarding early diagnostics and adjuvant therapy. We also discuss current and future perspectives for biomarker implementation in routine clinical practice.

CITATION  Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2021 Feb;10(2):1165-1185. doi: 10.21037/tlcr-20-750.