Diagnosis of lung cancer is reached when the disease had grown to advanced stages in its natural history. Thus, novel molecular markers for early detection and risk assessment are needed. Here we performed a longitudinal study of 20 morphological lesions occurred in the bronchial tree of high-risk patients. The lesions were subjected to LIFE (laser-induced fluorescence endoscopy) bronchoscopy and molecular follow-up over a 4 year period. The presence and the persistence of specific genetic alterations were correlated with recurrence or progression of the disease on follow-up. Molecular lesions considered as highly predictive of invasion could be prospectively used as diagnostic markers of high risk for lung cancer in exposed patients.
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