A blood assay for detection of lung cancer biomarkers could significantly improve cancer patient prognosis and survival rates. Amplified fragment length polymorphism-differential display (AFLP-DD) was used to identify gene transcripts found in lung cancer tissue and the peripheral blood of lung cancer patients. The clones were evaluated for gene expression in lung cancer tissue, peripheral blood of lung cancer patients and healthy volunteers' blood. The isolated gene transcript clones were found to be from the syndecan 1 gene, collagen 1 gene and 2 novel genes. All 4 transcripts were expressed in normal lung tissue, 4 cultured primary lung cells and 6 lung cancer cell lines. RNA was isolated from peripheral blood samples of 69 lung cancer patients. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to test for the presence of cytokeratin 19 and the 4 gene mRNA transcripts in blood RNA. The positive detection rate of at least 1 of the 5 transcripts was 79% for lung adenocarcinoma and 62% for squamous carcinoma. Using RT-PCR, at least 1 of the markers was found in 53% of stage 1 patients, 100% of stage 11, 71% of stage III and 81% of stage IV lung cancer patients. Blood samples from 20 healthy volunteers were also tested, but only 1 of the 5 transcripts was found in 1 patient. These new molecular markers may aid early detection, staging and follow-up of lung cancer patients by RNA isolated from blood.
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