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Lung Cancer Recurrence Markers Proposed From Lung Microbiome, Blood Expression Analyses

An Albert Einstein College of Medicine-led team describes potential lung microbiome- or blood expression-based markers for disease recurrence or recurrence-free survival in early-stage lung cancer patients treated with surgical resection. As they explain in Genome Medicine, the investigators used 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing on tumor or normal lung samples — along with NanoString-based profiling of immune-related gene expression in peripheral blood samples — to search for potential predictors of recurrence or recurrence-free survival in 46 stage II non-small cell lung cancer patients, who were followed for a median of almost five years after surgery. Among other patterns, they note that enhanced levels of certain lung or tumor tissue microbes tended to correspond with shorter recurrence-free survival, while longer recurrence-free survival times corresponded to normal lung tissue marked by other microbes. Likewise, the authors explain, longer disease-free survival times tracked with enhanced expression of TAP1, TAPBP, CSF2RB, and IFITM2 in patients' peripheral blood samples. "We identified compelling biomarkers in underexplored data types, the lung microbiome, and peripheral blood gene expression, which may improve risk prediction of recurrence in early-stage NSCLC patients," they write, noting that the current results "require validation in a larger cohort."