Biomarker linked with lung cancer survival rates could aid in prognosis

A biomarker in a gene called TRIM27 appears to be associated with survival rates in patients with certain types of lung cancer, according to new research co-led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In the future, the biomarker could help clinicians develop a more accurate prognosis for some lung cancer patients.

The study analyzed tumor samples from 613 early‐stage non‐small‐cell lung cancer patients. The researchers focused on changes or “methylation” to the DNA in a segment of TRIM27. They determined that higher levels of methylation, which switches off the gene, was significantly associated with shorter overall survival rates in patients with a type of lung cancer known as lung squamous cell carcinoma. The association was not seen in patients with a different type of cancer known as lung adenocarcinoma. The study also showed that high levels of methylation was associated with higher rates of smoking.

The findings were first published online August 15, 2020, in Molecular Biology, and appeared as the journal’s cover story in November.

Yongyue Wei and Ruyang Zhang of the Department of Environmental Health were both corresponding authors of the paper.

Other Harvard Chan School co-authors included David Christiani, Lijuan Lin, Sipeng Shen, Dongfang You, Li Su, and Xuesi Dong.

Read the Molecular Biology study: Epigenetic–smoking interaction reveals histologically heterogeneous effects of TRIM27 DNA methylation on overall survival among early‐stage NSCLC patients