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Identification of biomarkers is one of the most promising approaches for the detection of early malignant or even premalignant lesions with the chance of diagnosing early stages of non-small cell lung cancer that could be treated curatively. Alterations of chromosomes (3p, 5q, 9p), genes (Rb, C-myc, C-mos, hTERT), proteins (p16, p53, K-ras, hnRNP A2/B1, MCM2, EGFR, erbB-2, erbB-3, erbB-4) and others can be found in lung cancer. Some of these occur at early stages of the disease and few could serve as potential screening markers. The actual literature is reviewed and the relevance of the different biomarkers for early lung cancer detection is discussed.

(C) 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.