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
AUG 11, 2020
Immunology
Study Reveals the Two Sides of an Immune Molecule
AUG 11, 2020
Study Reveals the Two Sides of an Immune Molecule
Scientists have discovered a key protein that regulates the immune system to fight off infections. Fascinatingly, the pr ...
SEP 02, 2020
Immunology
Alarmins: The Immune "Gold" in Breast Milk
SEP 02, 2020
Alarmins: The Immune "Gold" in Breast Milk
We know that infants fed with breast milk develop more robust immune systems as a result of factors that support the nat ...
OCT 14, 2020
Immunology
Self-Healing Microcapsules Make Promising Leukemia Vaccines
OCT 14, 2020
Self-Healing Microcapsules Make Promising Leukemia Vaccines
Leukemia is a cancer affecting tissues in the body that produce blood cells, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic ...
OCT 21, 2020
Immunology
CNS's immune cells - Microglia are involved in the exacerbation of MS
OCT 21, 2020
CNS's immune cells - Microglia are involved in the exacerbation of MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most progressive autoimmune diseases that affect the central nervous system where ...
NOV 16, 2020
Immunology
Australian COVID-19 vaccine is promising and could be released next year
NOV 16, 2020
Australian COVID-19 vaccine is promising and could be released next year
Pharmaceutical companies worldwide are racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine that will hopefully end this pandemic and he ...
NOV 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Cat Parasite Gives Clues on New Drug Targets for Schizophrenia
NOV 20, 2020
Cat Parasite Gives Clues on New Drug Targets for Schizophrenia
Researchers from the UK and France have discussed a mechanism of action behind the infamous Toxoplasma gondii  ...
Loading Comments...