Ajona D, Okrój M, Pajares MJ, Agorreta J, Lozano MD, Zulueta JJ, Verri C, Roz L, Sozzi G, Pastorino U, Massion PP, Montuenga LM, Blom AM, Pio R. Complement C4d-specific antibodies for the diagnosis of lung cancer. Oncotarget. 2018 Jan 19;9(9). 6346-6355. PMID: 29464077 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC5814217
Development of molecular markers that help to identify high-risk individuals or diagnose indeterminate pulmonary nodules could have a major impact on lung cancer clinical management. In this study, we evaluated the diagnostic potential of a newly-developed ELISA that specifically detects complement C4d. We measured this marker in five independent cohorts of plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage samples from lung cancer patients and controls. In case-control studies, the area under the ROC curve for the diagnosis of lung cancer was 0.82 (95%CI = 0.72-0.92) in plasma samples, and 0.80 (95%CI = 0.69 to 0.90) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids. In a set of plasma samples from the MILD CT-screening trial, the assay was unable to discriminate between asymptomatic high-risk individuals with or without early stage lung cancer. On the contrary, in two independent cohorts of individuals with indeterminate pulmonary nodules, plasma samples from patients with lung cancer nodules presented higher levels of C4d than those from patients with benign nodules. Using a target population of patients with 8 to 30 mm nodules, the test identified likely benign lung nodules with 84% negative predictive value and 54% positive predictive value, at 89% specificity and 44% sensitivity. In conclusion, the specific determination of C4d may serve as an adjunct to current clinical practice in the diagnosis of indeterminate pulmonary nodules.