Publications

A lung cancer risk classifier comprising genome maintenance genes measured in normal bronchial epithelial cells

Yeo, J., Crawford, E.L., Zhang, X. et al.

Background
Annual low dose CT (LDCT) screening of individuals at high demographic risk reduces lung cancer mortality by more than 20%. However, subjects selected for screening based on demographic criteria typically have less than a 10% lifetime risk for lung cancer. Thus, there is need for a biomarker that better stratifies subjects for LDCT screening. Toward this goal, we previously reported a lung cancer risk test (LCRT) biomarker comprising 14 genome-maintenance (GM) pathway genes measured in normal bronchial epithelial cells (NBEC) that accurately classified cancer (CA) from non-cancer (NC) subjects. The primary goal of the studies reported here was to optimize the LCRT biomarker for high specificity and ease of clinical implementation.

Methods
Targeted competitive multiplex PCR amplicon libraries were prepared for next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of transcript abundance at 68 sites among 33 GM target genes in NBEC specimens collected from a retrospective cohort of 120 subjects, including 61 CA cases and 59 NC controls. Genes were selected for analysis based on contribution to the previously reported LCRT biomarker and/or prior evidence for association with lung cancer risk. Linear discriminant analysis was used to identify the most accurate classifier suitable to stratify subjects for screening.

Results
After cross-validation, a model comprising expression values from 12 genes (CDKN1A, E2F1, ERCC1, ERCC4, ERCC5, GPX1, GSTP1, KEAP1, RB1, TP53, TP63, and XRCC1) and demographic factors age, gender, and pack-years smoking, had Receiver Operator Characteristic area under the curve (ROC AUC) of 0.975 (95% CI: 0.96–0.99). The overall classification accuracy was 93% (95% CI 88%–98%) with sensitivity 93.1%, specificity 92.9%, positive predictive value 93.1% and negative predictive value 93%. The ROC AUC for this classifier was significantly better (p < 0.0001) than the best model comprising demographic features alone.

Conclusions
The LCRT biomarker reported here displayed high accuracy and ease of implementation on a high throughput, quality-controlled targeted NGS platform. As such, it is optimized for clinical validation in specimens from the ongoing LCRT blinded prospective cohort study. Following validation, the biomarker is expected to have clinical utility by better stratifying subjects for annual lung cancer screening compared to current demographic criteria alone.

Citation

Yeo, J., Crawford, E.L., Zhang, X. et al. "A lung cancer risk classifier comprising genome maintenance genes measured in normal bronchial epithelial cells" BMC Cancer (2017): 301