Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality rate worldwide, mainly because of the presence of metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. Early detection of lung cancer improves prognosis, and towards this end, large screening trials in high-risk individuals have been conducted since the past century. Despite all efforts, the need for novel (complementary) lung cancer diagnostic and screening methods still exists. In this review, we focus on the assessment of lung cancer-related biomarkers in sputum in the past decennium. Besides cytology, mutation and microRNA analysis, special attention has been paid to DNA promoter hypermethylation, of which all available literature is summarised without time restriction. A model is proposed to aid in the distinction between diagnostic and risk markers. Research on the use of sputum for non-invasive detection of early-stage lung cancer has brought new insights and advanced molecular techniques. The sputum shows a promising potential for routine diagnostic and possibly screening purposes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research