Project: Research project

Project Details


Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer mortality, killing over 90,000
people each year in the U.S.. Smoking has shown the strongest association
with lung cancer of the known risk factors. However, all individuals who
smoke do not develop lung cancer. In the Johns Hopkins Lung Project
(JHLP), over 5,000 men at high risk of developing lung cancer, i.e. 45
years of age or older who smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day, were
screened using sputum cytology and chest x-ray at regular intervals for up
to 8 years. The JHLP found that smokers who had persistent moderate atypia
in sputum were at even greater risk of developing lung cancer than those
who did not have atypia. The John Hopkins cytopathology laboratories are
currently testing a battery of immunohistochemical markers in some lung
cancer specimens. The study proposed here is designed to determine if
there are biomarkers in the sputum of individuals with persistent moderate
atypia or lung cancer which may serve as indicators for who will develop
lung cancer. The full battery of 12 markers will be tested in the first
phase, the developmental feasibility phase, of the study on the 27 subjects
from the JHLP who had persistent moderate atypia (cases) and subjects from
the JHLP who did not have persistent atypia (matched on age and smoking to
cases) and coworkers of the cases matched on age who do not smoke. An
index battery of a few biomarkers that is associated with lung cancer and
atypia will then be identified and reduced from the full battery currently
under study. This reduced battery will be derived by identifying markers
that appear to distinguish subjects with lung cancer or persistent atypia
from subjects without atypia or lung cancer. This index battery of
biomarkers will then be applied in the second phase of the study to the
previously obtained sputum specimens of a larger group, namely the 177 JHLP
subjects who developed lung cancer, 177 JHLP subjects who had
non-persistent moderate atypia and are matched on age and smoking to the
cancer cases, and 177 non-smoking coworkers matched on age to the cancer
cases. The latter two groups will also be followed to determine occurrence
of atypia and cancer and will provide sputum at two points in time, one
year apart, which will be tested using these biomarkers to see if they
distinguish those who develop atypia and lung cancer.
Effective start/end date9/1/836/30/87


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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