Gene methylation biomarkers in sputum and plasma as predictors for lung cancer recurrence

Steven A. Belinsky, Shuguang Leng, Guodong Wu, Cynthia L. Thomas, Maria A. Picchi, Sandra J. Lee, Seena Aisner, Suresh Ramalingam, Fadlo R. Khuri, Daniel D. Karp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-640
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Belinsky, S. A., Leng, S., Wu, G., Thomas, C. L., Picchi, M. A., Lee, S. J., Aisner, S., Ramalingam, S., Khuri, F. R., & Karp, D. D. (2017). Gene methylation biomarkers in sputum and plasma as predictors for lung cancer recurrence. Cancer Prevention Research, 10(11), 635-640.