Progastrin-releasing peptide – a useful and reliable biomarker in small cell lung cancer

Stefan Holdenrieder, Joachim von Pawel


In the last few years the biomarker progastrin-releasing peptide (ProGRP) has proved a useful and reliable laboratory parameter for differential diagnosis and treatment management of lung cancer. ProGRP displays high sensitivity and specificity for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and is suitable for differentiating it from benign lung disease, lung cancer of non-small cell histology (NSCLC) and metastatic non-lung cancers. This distinction is of considerable practical relevance in view of the different treatment approaches in SCLC and NSCLC. Differential diagnostic classification of indeterminate pulmonary nodules can be further improved by combined use of a lung marker panel comprising ProGRP, NSE, CYFRA 21-1, CEA and SCCA. Serial ProGRP measurement during treatment and follow-up of SCLC provides important information about therapeutic response or tumour progression.