BACKGROUND: The close temporal association between onset of some connective tissue diseases and cancer suggests a paraneoplastic association. Adult patients with scleroderma with anti-RNA polymerase III autoantibodies and adult patients with dermatomyositis with anti-transcriptional intermediary factor 1 (anti-TIF1) or anti-nuclear matrix protein 2 (anti-NXP2) autoantibodies have a significantly increased risk of developing cancer. Autoantibodies may serve as biomarkers for early detection of cancer and also could be relevant for prediction of responses to immune therapies. We aimed to test whether myositis and scleroderma specific or associated autoantibodies are detectable in individuals with lung cancer.
METHODS: Serum from 60 Caucasian patients with lung cancer (30 with small cell lung cancer, 30 with non-small cell lung cancer) was screened for myositis and scleroderma specific and associated autoantibodies by radiolabelled immunoprecipitation.
RESULTS: Anti-TIF1, anti-NXP2 or anti-RNA polymerase III autoantibodies were not detected in any of the 60 patients with lung cancer. Anti-glycyl-transfer RNA (tRNA) synthetase (anti-EJ) autoantibodies were detected in one patient with non-small cell lung cancer. No other known myositis or scleroderma autoantibodies were identified.
CONCLUSIONS: Myositis and scleroderma specific autoantibodies, including anti-TIF1, anti-NXP2 and anti-RNA polymerase III, are rare in patients with lung cancer without an autoimmune disease. We report here the first case of anti-EJ autoantibodies being detected in a patient with lung cancer without clinical or radiographic evidence of the anti-synthetase syndrome.