Integrated Biomarkers for the Management of Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodules.

  • Kammer MN, Lakhani DA, Balar AB, Antic SL, Kussrow AK, Webster RL, Mahapatra S, Barad U, Shah C, Atwater T, Diergaarde B, Qian J, Kaizer A, New M, Hirsch E, Feser WJ, Strong J, Rioth M, Miller YE, Balagurunathan Y, Rowe DJ, Helmey S, Chen SC, Bauza J, Deppen SA, Sandler K, Maldonado F, Spira A, Billatos E, Schabath MB, Gillies RJ, Wilson DO, Walker RC, Landman B, Chen H, Grogan EL, Barón AE, Bornhop DJ, Massion PP. Integrated Biomarkers for the Management of Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodules. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2021 Dec 1;204(204). 1306-1316. PMID: 34464235 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC8786067


Patients with indeterminate pulmonary nodules (IPNs) at risk of cancer undergo high rates of invasive, costly, and morbid procedures. To train and externally validate a risk prediction model that combined clinical, blood, and imaging biomarkers to improve the noninvasive management of IPNs. In this prospectively collected, retrospective blinded evaluation study, probability of cancer was calculated for 456 patient nodules using the Mayo Clinic model, and patients were categorized into low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups. A combined biomarker model (CBM) including clinical variables, serum high sensitivity CYFRA 21-1 level, and a radiomic signature was trained in cohort 1 ( = 170) and validated in cohorts 2-4 (total  = 286). All patients were pooled to recalibrate the model for clinical implementation. The clinical utility of the CBM compared with current clinical care was evaluated in 2 cohorts. The CBM provided improved diagnostic accuracy over the Mayo Clinic model with an improvement in area under the curve of 0.124 (95% bootstrap confidence interval, 0.091-0.156;   2 × 10). Applying 10% and 70% risk thresholds resulted in a bias-corrected clinical reclassification index for cases and control subjects of 0.15 and 0.12, respectively. A clinical utility analysis of patient medical records estimated that a CBM-guided strategy would have reduced invasive procedures from 62.9% to 50.6% in the intermediate-risk benign population and shortened the median time to diagnosis of cancer from 60 to 21 days in intermediate-risk cancers. Integration of clinical, blood, and image biomarkers improves noninvasive diagnosis of patients with IPNs, potentially reducing the rate of unnecessary invasive procedures while shortening the time to diagnosis.