Circulating tumor cells and serum tumor biomarkers in small cell lung cancer

Patrick C. Ma, Lawrence Blaszkowsky, Ajit Bharti, Andras Ladanyi, Stine Kathrein Kraeft, Adam Bruno, Arthur T. Skarin, Lan Bo Chen, Ravi Salgia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Lung cancer accounts for approximately 30% of all cancer mortalities in the United States. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC), which is an aggressive malignancy with frequent and early metastases, accounts for about 15% of all of the lung cancer cases with a dismal 5-year survival rate of <5% with current standard therapies. Early detection of SCLC is challenging, in part due to the lack of adequate serum tumor markers. The goal of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of circulating tumor cells and serum biomarkers in small cell lung cancer. The role of circulating tumor cells in prognostication is controversial, but may be better defined with advancing technologies of detection of such cells with higher precision, and improved clinico-pathological correlations. The current knowledge on the known serum cytokines and tumor biomarkers of SCLC, such as CEA, chromogranin A and neuron-specific enolase will be presented. Serum cytokines, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), stem cell factor (SCF) and hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) are also discussed. New findings in the search for novel diagnostic and therapeutic molecular markers using the emerging genomics and proteomics technologies are emphasized. It is our hope that validation of these new research platforms and technologies will result in improved early detection, prognostication and finally treatment of SCLC with potential novel molecularly-targeted therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-62
Number of pages14
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number1 A
StatePublished - Jan 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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