Gene Methylation Biomarkers in Sputum and Plasma as Predictors for Lung Cancer Recurrence. Academic Article uri icon


  • Detection of methylated genes in exfoliated cells from the lungs of smokers provides an assessment of the extent of field cancerization, is a validated biomarker for predicting lung cancer, and provides some discrimination when interrogated in blood. The potential utility of this 8-gene methylation panel for predicting tumor recurrence has not been assessed. The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group initiated a prevention trial (ECOG-ACRIN5597) that enrolled resected stage I non-small cell lung cancer patients who were randomized 2:1 to receive selenized yeast versus placebo for 4 years. We conducted a correlative biomarker study to assess prevalence for methylation of the 8-gene panel in longitudinally collected sputum and blood after tumor resection to determine whether selenium alters their methylation profile and whether this panel predicts local and/or distant recurrence. Patients (N = 1,561) were enrolled into the prevention trial; 565 participated in the biomarker study with 122 recurrences among that group. Assessing the association between recurrence and risk of gene methylation longitudinally for up to 48 months showed a 1.4-fold increase in OR for methylation in sputum in the placebo group independent of location (local or distant). Kaplan-Meier curves evaluating the association between number of methylated genes and time to recurrence showed no increased risk in sputum, while a significant HR of 1.5 was seen in plasma. Methylation detection in sputum and blood is associated with risk for recurrence. Cancer Prev Res; 10(11); 635-40. ©2017 AACR.©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.

publication date

  • November 2017