Proteomic technology for biomarker profiling in cancer: an update
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The progress in the understanding of cancer progression and early detection has been slow and frustrating due to the complex multifactorial nature and heterogeneity of the cancer syndrome. To date, no effective treatment is available for advanced cancers, which remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Clearly, there is urgent need to unravel novel biomarkers for early detection.
Most of the functional information of the cancer-associated genes resides in the proteome. The later is an exceptionally complex biological system involving several proteins that function through posttranslational modifications and dynamic intermolecular collisions with partners. These protein complexes can be regulated by signals emanating from cancer cells, their surrounding tissue microenvironment, and/or from the host. Some proteins are secreted and/or cleaved into the extracellular milieu and may represent valuable serum biomarkers for diagnosis purpose. It is estimated that the cancer proteome may include over 1.5 million proteins as a result of posttranslational processing and modifications. Such complexity clearly highlights the need for ultra-high resolution proteomic technology for robust quantitative protein measurements and data acquisition. This review is to update the current research efforts in high-resolution proteomic technology for discovery and monitoring cancer biomarkers.