Here, we explored the potential application and selection of neuroendocrine biomarkers in the diagnosis and treatment of small cell lung cancer.
We retrospectively analyzed 118 patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), 166 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), 33 patients with benign lung disease (BLD), and 200 healthy individuals admitted to Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital between January 1, 2015 and May 31, 2019. All the patients were newly diagnosed with either SCLC, NSCLC, or BLD and previously untreated. Peripheral blood levels of ProGRP, NSE, CEA, and CYFRA21-1 were analyzed during the follow-up treatment, and 2-fold reference intervals were defined as effective elevation. We used paired results to analyze the diagnostic efficiency of proGRP and NSE on SCLC.
In the 118 SCLC patients, proGRP levels were significantly higher compared with NSE levels. The diagnostic efficiencies of NSE and ProGRP for SCLC were 0.8554 and 0.9053, respectively. The combined diagnostic efficiency (0.9426) was higher relative to NSE, but there was no significant difference compared with proGRP. The effective elevation rate of proGRP was 45.3% higher than that of NSE in the limited stage of SCLC. In the extensive disease of SCLC patients, 70.7 % cases had more than 10-fold increase in proGRP value, whereas 56.9 % cases had less than 5-fold increase in NSE value. Compared with pre-treatment, the median concentrations of proGRP increased by 204.0% higher than that of NSE (71.3%) in the progressive group. Besides, the dynamic change in imaging characteristics and tumor size had a strong correlation with the levels of proGRP.
ProGRP is a reliable neuroendocrine biomarker in SCLC. The effective elevation of proGRP has a potential diagnostic and efficacy value in the evaluation of SCLC. However, the combined detection of proGRP and NSE does not significantly improve the diagnosis of lung cancer.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.