Plasma Progastrin-Releasing Peptide and Chromogranin A Assays for Diagnosing and Monitoring Lung Well-Differentiated Neuroendocrine Tumors: A Brief Report

Published:December 08, 2022DOI:



      The use of chromogranin A (CGA) as a circulating biomarker in lung carcinoids (LCs) is limited by low specificity and sensitivity. This study aimed to evaluate plasma progastrin-releasing peptide (ProGRPp) as an alternative to plasma CGA (CGAp), for the diagnosis and follow-up of LC.


      ProGRPp and CGAp concentrations were measured in 107 patients with LC and 105 patients with benign lung disease (BLD).


      ProGRPp distinguished patients with LC with active disease in the pretreatment (n = 43) and post-treatment (n = 43) groups from those with BLD: area under the curve for both 0.864 (p < 0.0001); sensitivity 67.4% and 58.1%, respectively; specificity 96.2%; at 64 pg/mL cutoff. CGAp failed to differentiate both LC groups from those with BLD: area under the curve 0.579 and 0.526 (for both p > 0.1); sensitivity 34.9% and 25.6%, respectively; specificity 73.3%; at 104 ng/mL cutoff. Only ProGRPp correlated with the Ki67 proliferation index (r = 0.40, p < 0.001) and was associated with mitotic count (p = 0.025), stage (p = 0.018), grade (p = 0.019), and the expression of thyroid transcription factor-1 (p = 0.005). ProGRPp had a high sensitivity (92.3%) in LC with diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia. Abnormal postoperative ProGRPp level was associated with residual disease (p = 0.029). The changes in ProGRPp level during treatment, a decrease greater than 30% and an increase greater than 8%, were associated with image-based outcomes, partial response and disease progression, respectively (p < 0.0001). CGAp did not reflect the disease course.


      ProGRPp was superior to CGAp in diagnosing LC with correlations concerning proliferation, grading, staging, diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia co-occurrence, and response to treatment. ProGRPp is an optimal emerging biomarker to be further evaluated.


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