Korean Researchers Find a Biomarker for Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Korean researchers have found a biomarker (a biological indicator that diagnoses the progress of the disease) to diagnose lung cancer early, which has few symptoms of self-awareness.  

The Korea Research Foundation recently announced that a research team led by Professor Lee Chang-hwan of Ulsan National University Medical School (Seoul Asan Hospital) has discovered a new protein called TRIM28 (TRIM28), which can diagnose lung cancer and predict survival rates in the next five years.  The study was published in the “Cell Death and Differentiation.”


Lung cancer is the No. 1 disease in Korean cancer mortality, but its survival rate is 80 percent if found early. However, there are no special symptoms in the early stages of the outbreak, and the number of biomarkers for early diagnosis is very small.

There have been attempts to diagnose lung cancer through differences in the concentration of certain proteins (biomarkers) present in the blood, but early diagnosis was difficult due to lack of specificity and sensitivity of lung cancer.

The research team wanted to find proteins that showed significant differences in concentration between lung cancer tissues and normal tissues in 104 lung cancer patients.  Protein profiling showed that a protein called TRIM28 was highly concentrated in lung cancer tissues. The growth and metastasis of lung cancer were confirmed in cell models and animal models that artificially increased the expression ratio of TRIM 28. On the contrary, it was confirmed that the incidence of lung cancer decreased when the expression ratio of TRIM 28 was reduced.

An analysis with a super-fast mass spectrometer found that TRIM 28 combines with the “RLIM” protein and breaks it, and RLIM breaks down “MDM2,” which breaks down “p53” again. A chain decomposition reaction occurs,which starts with TRIM 28 and extends to p53 which is an anti-cancer gene that suppresses cancer.

In addition, tissue samples of 101 lung cancer patients confirmed that the five-year survival rate decreased drastically for patients expressing more TRIM 28 and less RLIM.

The research team said the study will be helpful in understanding the mechanism of lung cancer and contribute to the development of new drugs. The team also said it plans to conduct further research for clinical application in the future.


Categories: Clinical, Tech&Innovation