Clinical Trials Detection

Study finds lung cancer patients show distinct lung microbiome profiles versus benign diseases. Analyzing microbial features in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid could serve as minimally invasive biomarker for lung cancer detection, reducing need for biopsies.

In a recent study published in Scientific Reports, researchers comparatively investigated the lung microbiomes of patients with benign and malignant pulmonary diseases.


Lung cancer is a prevalent disease causing significant global deaths, and early detection is crucial for improving prognosis. Lung biopsies are essential for diagnosis and treatment but are invasive and can cause severe complications.

Computed tomography (CT) scans cannot distinguish between pneumonia-like consolidation and lung cancers with necrosis. Blood biomarkers like carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and cytokeratin 19 are used but haven’t been validated, warranting novel biomarkers for lung cancer diagnosis and biopsy decision criteria.

About the study

In the present study, researchers obtained bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from individuals with pulmonary cancer or other pulmonary conditions, including pneumonia, bronchiectasis, and interstitial lung disease, to identify microbial differences between lung cancers and benign diseases of the lungs. They also established a lung cancer prediction model.

The team included 24 lung cancer patients and 24 individuals with benign pulmonary conditions undergoing bronchoscopy at the Chungnam National University Hospital from June 2021 to June 2022 for analysis.

They obtained BALF from the lung lesions of the participants. In particular, the team collected 3.0 mL of BALF from every patient, centrifuged them at 4.0°celsius for 30 minutes, added 1.0 mL of ribonucleic acid (RNA)/deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) shield to the samples, and stored them at −80 °C in microcentrifuge tubes.

The researchers extracted DNA from BALF sampled from the participants to perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). To evaluate the association of pulmonary microbiomes with pulmonary cancer, they subjected the samples to 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing and metagenomics analysis.

They defined pneumonia using the radiographical and clinical findings reported by pulmonologists. The team included pneumonia patmalignancy and bronchoscopy due to mass-like consolidations, requiring differentiation from malignancy, and excluding those with prior exposure to glucocorticoids and broad-spectrum antimicrobials.

The team profiled taxonomic data at phylum and genus levels and compared the microbial communities of pneumonia and pulmonary cancer patients.

Read full article