The high mortality rate in lung cancer is largely attributable to late diagnosis. Case–control studies suggest that autoantibodies to the survivin protein are potential biomarkers for early diagnosis. We tested the hypothesis that sandwich ELISA can detect autoantibodies to survivin before radiologic diagnosis in patients with early-stage non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Because previous studies assayed survivin autoantibodies with the direct antigen-coating ELISA (DAC-ELISA), we first compared that assay with the sandwich ELISA. Based on the more robust results from the sandwich ELISA, we used it to measure survivin autoantibodies in the serum of 100 individuals from a well-controlled population study [the Dutch–Belgian Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NELSON) trial] composed of current and former smokers (50 patients with NSCLC, both before and after diagnosis, and 50 matched, smoking-habit control subjects), and another 50 healthy nonsmoking control subjects. We found no difference in specific autoantibodies to survivin in NSCLC patients, although nonspecific median optical densities were 24% higher (P < 0.001) in both NSCLC patients and smokers, than in healthy nonsmokers. Finally, we confirmed the ELISA results with Western blot analysis of recombinant and endogenous survivin (HEK-293), which showed no anti-survivin reactivity in patient sera. We conclude that specific anti-survivin autoantibody reactivity is most likely not present in sera before or after diagnosis. Autoantibody studies benefit from a comparison to a well-controlled population, stratified for smoking habit. Cancer Immunol Res; 4(2); 1–8. ©2015 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Immunology Research Online (http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received October 18, 2014.
- Revision received September 25, 2015.
- Accepted September 25, 2015.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.