Lung Cancer Detection by Screening – Presenting Circulating miRNAs as a Promising Next Generation Biomarker Breakthrough


Lung cancer remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, accounting for more deaths than any other cause. All the clinical practice guidelines recommended against routine screening for lung cancer have cited lack of robust evidence, at least until a few years back. However, the potential to screen lung cancers has received renewed interest due to superior performance of low dose CT (LD-CT) in detecting early stage cancers. The incremental costs and risks involved due to the invasive procedures in the screened population due to a high false positivity rate questions the use of LD-CT scan as a reliable community based screening tool. There is therefore an urgent need to find a less invasive and a more reliable biomarker that is crucial to increase the probability of early lung cancer detection. This can truly make a difference in lung cancer survival and at the same time be more cost and resource utilization effective. Sampling blood serum being minimally invasive, low risk and providing an easy to obtain biofluid, needs to be explored for potential biomarkers. This review discusses the use of circulatory miRNAs that have been able to discriminate lung cancer patients from disease free controls. Several studies conducted recently suggest that circulating miRNAs may have promising future applications for screening and early detection of lung cancer.