TP53 mutation prevalence in normal airway epithelium as a biomarker for lung cancer risk.


There is a need for biomarkers that improve accuracy compared with current demographic risk indices to detect individuals at the highest lung cancer risk. Improved risk determination will enable more effective lung cancer screening and better stratification of lung nodules into high or low-risk category. We previously reported discovery of a biomarker for lung cancer risk characterized by increased prevalence of TP53 somatic mutations in airway epithelial cells (AEC). Here we present results from a validation study in an independent retrospective case-control cohort.

Targeted next generation sequencing was used to identify mutations within three TP53 exons spanning 193 base pairs in AEC genomic DNA.

TP53 mutation prevalence was associated with cancer status (P < 0.001). The lung cancer detection receiver operator characteristic (ROC) area under the curve (AUC) for the TP53 biomarker was 0.845 (95% confidence limits 0.749-0.942). In contrast, TP53 mutation prevalence was not significantly associated with age or smoking pack-years. The combination of TP53 mutation prevalence with PLCO<sub>M2012</sub> risk score had an ROC AUC of 0.916 (0.846-0.986) and this was significantly higher than that for either factor alone (P < 0.03).

These results support the validity of the TP53 mutation prevalence biomarker and justify taking additional steps to assess this biomarker in AEC specimens from a prospective cohort and in matched nasal brushing specimens as a potential non-invasive surrogate specimen.

  • Antic SL
  • Chen H
  • Craig DJ
  • Crawford EL
  • Deppen SA
  • Grogan EL
  • Massion PP
  • Morrison T
  • Willey JC
PubMed ID
Appears In
BMC Cancer, 2023, 23 (1)