Current status of circulating protein biomarkers to aid the early detection of lung cancer

Future Oncol. 2014 Jun;10(8):1501-13. doi: 10.2217/fon.14.21.


Considerable efforts have been undertaken to produce an effective screening method to reduce lung cancer mortality. Imaging tools such as low-dose computed tomography has shown an increase in the detection of early disease and a reduction in the rate of death. This screening modality has, however, several limitations, such as overdiagnosis and a high rate of false positives. Therefore, new screening methods, such as the use of circulating protein biomarkers, have emerged as an option that could complement imaging studies. In this review, current imaging techniques applied to lung cancer screening protocols are presented, as well as up-to-date status of circulating protein biomarker panels that may improve lung cancer diagnosis. Additionally, diverse statistical and artificial intelligence tools applied to the design and optimization of these panels are discussed along with the presentation of two commercially available blood tests recently developed to help detect lung cancer early.

Keywords: blood test; data analysis methods; early detection; high-risk population; lung cancer; multiple biomarker panels; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Blood Proteins*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer* / methods
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Proteins
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic