Soluble human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (sHER2) as a potential risk assessment, Screening, and diagnostic biomarker of lung adenocarcinoma

Abby L. Cosentino-Boehm, Jacqueline M. Lafky, Tammy M. Greenwood, Kimberly D. Kimbler, Marites C. Buenafe, Yuxia Wang, Adam J. Branscum, Ping Yang, Nita J. Maihle, Andre T. Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Here, we evaluated the potential clinical utility of soluble human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (sHER2) for the risk assessment, screening, and diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using an unmatched case-control study design. Serum sHER2 concentrations were measured by immunoassay in 244 primary NSCLC cases and 218 healthy controls. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, logistic regression models, and receiver operating characteristic plots were used to assess whether sHER2 is associated with lung cancer. Median serum sHER2 concentrations are higher in patients with adenocarcinoma than squamous cell carcinoma regardless of gender, and sHER2 is a weak, independent biomarker of adenocarcinoma, but not of squamous cell carcinoma, adjusted for age and gender. The age-adjusted relative risk (odds) of adenocarcinoma is 3.95 (95% CI: 1.22, 12.81) and 7.93 (95% CI: 2.26, 27.82) greater for women and men with high sHER2 concentrations (≥6.60 ng/mL) vs. low sHER2 concentrations (≤1.85 ng/mL), respectively. When adjusted for each other, sHER2, age, and gender discern healthy controls from patients with primary adenocarcinomas of the lung with 85.9% accuracy. We conclude that even though serum sHER2 is not a strong, stand-alone discriminatory biomarker of adenocarcinoma, sHER2 may be a useful, independent covariate in multivariate risk assessment, screening, and diagnostic models of lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-32
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Diagnosis
  • Early detection
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Risk assessment
  • Screening
  • Soluble human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (sHER2)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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