Prediagnostic RNA biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer

Business opportunity

Leading scientists at the Cancer Registry of Norway and Oslo University Hospital have identified prediagnostic serum RNA biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer (LC).

These biomarkers can be used in lung cancer screening of high-risk individuals.

Inven2 AS seeks partners for co-development and/or licensing of the technology. We are interested to get in touch with relevant diagnostic companies and to discuss the potential of the technology in different screening programs.


The RNAs identified are promising prediagnostic biomarkers both for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The scientists have investigated differential expression of circulating RNAs by sequencing more than 500 LC samples donated up to 10 years before LC-diagnosis and 500 matched cancer-free controls. Validation of biomarkers in a different cohort is ongoing.

Two specific tests are under development. One containing only 4 specified markers, with a prediction score of AUC 0.92. This test could detect SCLC 3-5 years ahead of diagnosis. The second test has the potential of predicting NSCLC 6-9 years before diagnose. This test has an AUC of 0.78 and contains 30 markers at the current stage.

Machine learning algorithms are implemented to assess robustness of the models. The current tests are being optimized further and more tests are under development.


LC survival is poor. Survival increases when the patients are diagnosed at a non-metastatic stage, but only 25% of the patients are diagnosed at this stage today. Screening methods like computed tomography (CT) can be effective for early detection, but annual CT scans can cause harmful radiation exposure and it has a high false positive rate. Therefore, there is a need for non-invasive biomarkers in addition to CT. The biomarkers will in combination with low-dose CT scans improve sensitivity and specificity, in addition to reduce cost and burden for the screening participants substantially. 


A provisional patent application protecting the two specified tests is in filing.


“A 10-year prediagnostic follow-up study shows that serum RNA signals are highly dynamic in lung carcinogenesis”, Umu SU et al, Mol Oncol., 2020 Feb


Aina Haugen Rengmark, Ph.D.

Aina Haugen Rengmark, Ph.D.

Technology Strategy Manager


+47 90 12 63 44