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Cancers 2011, 3(3), 2975-2989; doi:10.3390/cancers3032975
Review

Sputum-Based Molecular Biomarkers for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer: Limitations and Promise

1
, 1,2
 and 1,2,*
1 Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. 462 First Avenue, NBV 7N24, New York, NY 10016, USA 2 Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, 57 Old Forge Road, Tuxedo, NY 10987, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 June 2011 / Revised: 11 July 2011 / Accepted: 12 July 2011 / Published: 19 July 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lung Cancer)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [250 KB, 20 July 2011; original version 19 July 2011]

Abstract

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, with an overall survival of 15% at five years. Biomarkers that can sensitively and specifically detect lung cancer at early stage are crucial for improving this poor survival rate. Sputum has been the target for the discovery of non-invasive biomarkers for lung cancer because it contains airway epithelial cells, and molecular alterations identified in sputum are most likely to reflect tumor-associated changes or field cancerization caused by smoking in the lung. Sputum-based molecular biomarkers include morphology, allelic imbalance, promoter hypermethylation, gene mutations and, recently, differential miRNA expression. To improve the sensitivity and reproducibility of sputum-based biomarkers, we recommend standardization of processing protocols, bronchial epithelial cell enrichment, and identification of field cancerization biomarkers.
Keywords: lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer; sputum; biomarker; early detection lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer; sputum; biomarker; early detection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kim, C.E.; Tchou-Wong, K.-M.; Rom, W.N. Sputum-Based Molecular Biomarkers for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer: Limitations and Promise. Cancers 2011, 3, 2975-2989.

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