Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) is an effective noninvasive diagnostic biomarker with high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), particularly lung adenocarcinoma, according to research published last week in the Clinical Cancer Research.

Researchers in Beijing discovered that IDH1 is detectable in the blood of lung cancer patients with 76% sensitivity and 77% specificity. Using a mathematical model to combine the detection of IDH1 with the detection of existing markers, the sensitivity increased to 86%.

Combining IDH1 with 3 existing biomarkers—CEA, Cyfra21-1, and CA125—helped to better classify different types of adenocarcinoma, compared with detection with IDH1 alone, according to researchers.

“Based on the present data, IDH1 can be used to detect stage 1 lung cancer; however, it is also possible that IDH1 could be used to detect pre-cancer but further studies are required to address that possibility,” said said Jie He, MD, PhD, director of the Laboratory of Thoracic Surgery at the Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing. “Our research also suggests IDH1 may be involved in the development of lung cancer, and it may be a good target for the treatment of NSCLC.”

He’s research is currently studying the molecular mechanisms that increase IDH1 in lung cancer patients and its clinical implications. Future research plans include a multicenter clinical trial for further validation of IDH1.