Although progastrin-releasing peptide (proGRP) is used as a serum tumor marker for small cell lung cancer (SCLC), high serum pro-GRP concentrations are observed in some non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). The characteristics of these NSCLCs are not well known. To determine the clinicopathological features of NSCLC in patients with elevated serum proGRP concentrations, serum proGRP values were assessed in 654 advanced lung cancer patients, and positive (>46. pg/mL) NSCLC specimens were subjected to cytological and histopathological reevaluation. Serum proGRP concentrations were positive in 34 of 421 NSCLC patients (8.1%) and 186 of 233 SCLC patients (80%). Histological subtypes of the 34 NSCLC patients at diagnosis were 20 adenocarcinomas, 5 squamous cell carcinomas, 4 large cell carcinomas, and 5 large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas. Six of 27 cytology specimens contained characteristic neuroendocrine morphology. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that 11 of 17 tumors were positive for neuroendocrine markers (64.7%). Twenty of 34 serum proGRP-positive NSCLC patients received platinum-based chemotherapy, and the response rate was 55.0%. These results suggest that serum proGRP-positive NSCLCs may have neuroendocrine differentiation. In addition, serum proGRP-positive NSCLCs may have clinical characteristics that are different from other NSCLCs.
- Neuroendocrine differentiation
- Non-small-cell lung cancer
- Tumor marker