Article Text

Translating the transcriptome into tools for the early detection and prevention of lung cancer
  1. Yaron B Gesthalter1,2,3,
  2. Jessica Vick3,
  3. Katrina Steiling1,3,4,
  4. Avrum Spira1,3,4
  1. 1The Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Division of Computational Biomedicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4Bioinformatics Program, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yaron B Gesthalter, The Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 East Concord Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA; ygesty{at}


Despite advances in the management of lung cancer, this disease remains a significant global health burden with survival rates that have not significantly improved in decades. The mortality reduction achieved by low-dose helical CT (LDCT) screening of select high-risk patients is challenged by the high false positive rate of this screening modality and the potential for morbidity associated with follow-up diagnostic evaluation in patients with high risk for iatrogenic complications. The diagnostic dilemma of the indeterminate nodule incidentally identified on diagnostic or screening CT has created a need for reliable biomarkers capable of distinguishing benign from malignant disease. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to develop molecular biomarkers to supplement clinical risk models in order to identify patients at highest risk for having an early stage lung cancer that may derive the greatest benefit from LDCT screening, as well as identifying patients at high-risk for developing lung cancer that may be candidates for emerging chemopreventive strategies. Evolving bioinformatic techniques and the application of these algorithms to analyse the transcriptomic changes associated with lung cancer promise translational discoveries that can bridge these large clinical gaps. The identification of lung cancer associated transcriptomic alterations in readily accessible tissue sampling sites offers the potential to develop early diagnostic and risk stratification strategies applicable to large populations. This review summarises the challenges associated with the early detection, screening and chemoprevention of lung cancer with an emphasis on how genomic information encapsulated by the transcriptome can facilitate future innovations in these clinical settings.

  • Lung Cancer
  • Lung Cancer Chemotherapy
  • Tobacco and the lung

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