Performance evaluation of the DNA methylation biomarker SHOX2 for the aid in diagnosis of lung cancer based on the analysis of bronchial aspirates

Dimo Dietrich, Christoph Kneip, Olaide Raji, Triantafillos Liloglou, Anke Seegebarth, Thomas Schlegel, Nadja Flemming, Sebastian Rausch, Jürgen Distler, Michael Fleischhacker, Bernd Schmidt, Thomas Giles, Martin Walshaw, Chris Warburton, Volker Liebenberg, John K Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


In the identification of subjects with lung cancer, increased DNA methylation of the SHOX2 gene locus in bronchial aspirates has previously been proven to be a clinically valuable biomarker. This is particularly true in cases where the cytological and histological results following bronchoscopy are undetermined. This previous case control study was conducted using research assay components and a complex work flow. To facilitate the use in a diagnostic setting, a CE marked in vitro diagnostic test kit to quantify SHOX2 DNA methylation in bronchial aspirates was developed and characterized. The presented assay for measuring SHOX2 DNA methylation in bronchial aspirates is based on two major steps: generation of bisulfite converted template DNA from patient samples followed by subsequent determination of SHOX2 biomarker methylation by real-time PCR. Individual kits for DNA preparation, real-time PCR analysis and work flow control were developed. This study describes the analytical performance (reproducibility, accuracy, interfering substances, cross-reactivity) of the in vitro diagnostic (IVD) test kit 'Epi proLung BL Reflex Assay'. In addition, the intended use of the test was validated in a clinical performance evaluation (case control) study comprised of 250 patients (125 cases, 125 controls). The results describe the test as a robust and reliable diagnostic tool for identifying patients with lung cancer using Saccomanno-fixed bronchial lavage specimens (AUC [95% confidence intervals] = 0.94 [0.91-0.98], sensitivity 78% [69-86]/specificity 96% [90-99]). This test may be used as a diagnostic adjunct to existing clinical and pathological investigations in lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-32
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor/genetics
  • Bronchi/metabolism
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage/methods
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross Reactions
  • DNA Methylation
  • Female
  • Homeodomain Proteins/genetics
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Control
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


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