(HealthDay News) – Diacetylspermine is a novel prediagnostic serum biomarker for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a study published online Aug. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

William R. Wikoff, PhD, from the University of California in Davis, and colleagues used an untargeted metabolomics approach to identify biomarker candidates using prediagnostic serum samples from the Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET) study. A liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry hydrophilic interaction method designed to profile a wide range metabolites was applied to CARET samples from 100 patients who subsequently developed NSCLC and 199 matched controls. Based on the results from the discovery set, a metabolite identified as N1,N12-diacetylspermine (DAS) and the previously established protein biomarker, pro-surfactant protein B (pro-SFTPB), were validated in a set of sera from 108 patients with NSCLC and 216 matched controls.

The researchers found that in the discovery set, serum DAS was elevated 1.9-fold, demonstrating significant specificity and sensitivity for samples collected up to 6 months before NSCLC diagnosis. In both the discovery and validation sets, DAS significantly complemented performance of pro-SFTPB, with a combined area under the curve in the validation set of 0.808 (P<0.001 vs. pro-SFTPB).

“DAS is a novel serum metabolite with significant performance in prediagnostic NSCLC and has additive performance with pro-SFTPB,” the authors write.

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