The role of gene expression profiling in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer
For patients with identical clinical-pathological characteristics or the same stage of lung cancer, great uncertainties remain regarding how some patients will be cured while other patients will have cancer recurrence, metastasis, or death after surgical resection. Identification of patients at high risk of recurrence, those who are unlikely to respond to specific chemotherapeutic agents, is the rationale for measuring specific biochemical markers. Thus, main investigational studies nowadays are focused in identifying molecular markers of recurrence, beyond pathologic stage, after surgical treatment and factors that can predict a benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy in poor prognosis subgroups, to individualize treatments. Advances in genomics and proteomics have generated many candidate markers with potential clinical value. Gene expression profiling (GEP) by microarray or real-time quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) can be useful in the classification or prognosis of various types of cancer, including lung cancer. A number of prognostic gene expression signatures have been reported to predict survival in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this review, we focus on the role of GEP in early-stage NSCLC as predictive and prognostic biomarker and its potential use for a ‘personalized’ medicine in the years to come.