Noninvasive Diagnostics for Early Detection of Lung Cancer: Challenges and Potential with a Focus on Changes in DNA Methylation.


Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the world. Early detection of this disease can reduce mortality, as demonstrated for low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening. However, there remains a need for improvements in lung cancer detection to complement LDCT screening and to increase adoption of screening. Molecular changes in the tumor, and the patient's response to the presence of the tumor, have been examined as potential biomarkers for diagnosing lung cancer. There are significant challenges to developing an effective biomarker with sufficient sensitivity and specificity for the early detection of lung cancer, particularly the detection of circulating tumor DNA, which is present in very small quantities. We will review approaches to develop biomarkers for the early detection of lung cancer, with special consideration to detection of rare tumor events, focus on the use of DNA methylation-based detection in plasma and sputum, and discuss the promise and challenges of lung cancer early detection. Plasma-based detection of lung cancer DNA methylation may provide a simple cost-effective method for the early detection of lung cancer.<b>See all articles in this <i>CEBP Focus</i> section, "NCI Early Detection Research Network: Making Cancer Detection Possible."</b>

  • Farooq M
  • Herman JG
PubMed ID
Appears In
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2020, 29 (12)