Purpose of review: Biomarkers for lung cancer may be used for risk stratification, early detection, treatment selection, prognostication and monitoring for recurrence. All these areas of clinical management would benefit from sensitive and specific, noninvasive, cost-effective biomarkers.
Recent findings: Significant progress has been made in understanding the steps involved in lung carcinogenesis and in the development of novel technologies for biomarker discovery. Over the last 3 years research into prospective lung cancer biomarkers has proliferated, especially in the areas of early detection and prognostication. The most active areas of research have been in promoter methylation, proteomics and genomics. Many investigators are adopting panels of serum biomarkers in an attempt to increase sensitivity. The development of targeted lung cancer therapy has engendered interest in markers to identify the optimal candidates for these therapies.
Summary: Much progress has been made in the last 3 years in the identification and validation of new biomarkers for the early diagnosis of lung cancer. The biomarkers require additional studies before they can be used clinically. Markers to identify lung cancer patients who may benefit from targeted therapy have been developed more rapidly and may be used now in some clinical situations.