MAY 10, 2018 1:49 PM PDT

New Biomarker for Lung Cancer Diagnosis

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Lung cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer for both genders and for people all over the globe. This is largely due to the lack of diagnostic markers that indicate early stages of cancer. But now, scientists from a new Japan study introduce a biomarker that could drastically change cancer diagnostics and treatment: CKAP4.

Histopathology of small cell lung carcinoma. Credit: Yale Rosen

There are several existing biomarkers that scientists use to diagnose lung cancer:

  • Carcinoma embryonic antigen (CEA)
  • Sialyl Lewis X antigen (SLX)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) antigen
  • Cytokeratin fragment (CYFRA) 21-1

But none of them are sensitive enough to detect lung cancer in its early stages, and this is a huge problem for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of patients affected.

In the new study, researchers used several lab techniques to test a monoclonal antibody called KU-Lu-1. A monoclonal antibody is a lab-derived protein that binds to other proteins in the body. In this case, KU-Lu-1 only targeted tumor cells from lung cancer tissues, not normal lung tissues. Researchers first tested KU-Lu-1 in blood samples from 271 different lung cancer patients and 100 healthy individuals.

After confirming that KU-Lu-1 only targeted cancerous tissue, researchers observed that KU-Lu-1 targets lung cancer cells by recognizing cytoskeleton-associated protein 4 (CKAP4).

"The results of our study provide evidence that the CKAP4 protein may be a novel early sero-diagnostic marker for lung cancer,” explained co-investigator Ryo Nagashio, PhD.

"The use of CKAP4 as a biomarker could change current practices regarding the treatment of lung cancer patients, and the diagnostic accuracies may be markedly improved by the combination of CKAP4 and conventional markers," explained study leader Yuichi Sato, PhD.

CKAP4 is a receptor of another protein called Dickkopf1 (DKK1). When both of these proteins are expressed, prognosis worsens and the chance of relapse-free survival for lung cancer patients minimizes.

"The identification of patients at an early stage of cancer when it can be treated surgically is extremely important to improve prognosis," Sato concluded. "We need better biomarkers for early diagnosis."

The present study was published in the American Journal of Pathology.

Sources: Elsevier, National Cancer Institute

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
MAR 29, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAR 29, 2020
Learning More About Boosting Immunity in Older Adults
Older adults are more susceptible to infections and don't generate a robust immune response after a vaccination.
APR 08, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
APR 08, 2020
Does Tuberculosis Vaccine Really Defend from COVID-19?
The spread of COVID-19 has panned out very differently in different countries. While in some such as the US, the UK and ...
APR 13, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
APR 13, 2020
Smoking Cannabis Increases COVID-19 Risk
Health experts from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Lung Association have said that smoking cannab ...
APR 14, 2020
Immunology
APR 14, 2020
Immunotherapy Shows Promise, Destroys Metastatic Brain Tumors
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S., with smokers bearing an elevated risk of th ...
APR 21, 2020
Health & Medicine
APR 21, 2020
How to Read COVID-19 News (Without Going Crazy)
  It can feel like COVID-19 news is consuming the country, and taking all the toilet paper and N95-masks with it. N ...
JUN 06, 2020
Immunology
JUN 06, 2020
Cancer Cell Clusters Better At Resisting the Immune System
For cancerous cells in the body, it seems there is safety in numbers. Researchers from a newly published study investiga ...
Loading Comments...