Current blood-based biomarkers for neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) lack both sensitivity and specificity. Human circulating progastrin (hPG80) is a novel biomarker that can be easily measured in plasma by ELISA. This study is the first to examine hPG80 in NENs. Plasma hPG80 was quantified from 95 stage IV NEN patients, using DxPG80 technology (ECS Progastrin, Switzerland) and compared with hPG80 concentrations in two cohorts of healthy donor controls aged 50–80 (n = 252) and 18–25 (n = 137). Median hPG80 in NENs patients was 5.54 pM compared to 1.5 pM for the 50–80 controls and 0.29 pM the 18–25 cohort (p < 0.0001). Subgroup analysis revealed median hPG80 levels significantly higher than for either control cohort in neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC; n = 25) and neuroendocrine tumors (NET; n = 70) including the small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) sub-cohort (n = 13). Diagnostic accuracy, estimated by AUCs, was high for NENs, as well as both sub-groups (NEC/NET) when compared to the younger and older control groups. Plasma hPG80 in NENs may be a diagnostic blood biomarker for both low- and high-grade NENs; further study is warranted. A prospective multi-center trial is ongoing in NET to evaluate hPG80 as a means of monitoring disease (NCT04750954).

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Published in Cancers, v. 14, issue 4, 863.

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was supported by the BPTP Shared Resource of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center (P30 CA177558) and ECS Progastrin.

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All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article. Individual deidentified patient data can be shared upon request and IRB approval.

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