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Surgeon. 2005 Dec;3(6):383-90, 422.

SELDI-TOF proteomic analysis and cancer detection.

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  • 1Department of Surgery and Molecular Oncology, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Scotland, UK.



In recent years proteomic approaches have been widely used to diagnose disease and the new technology of surface enhanced laser-desorption and ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS) is very promising.


A review of English language literature was undertaken using Internet databases such as PubMed and Medline for studies using proteomic technologies for the early detection of cancer.


SELDI-TOF is an array based mass spectrometric method in which proteins of interest are selectively absorbed onto a chemically modified surface and the mass and amount of each protein is measured by irradiating the surface with a laser and measuring the time-of-flight. The technology has revealed a large number of previously uncharacterized biomarkers for a wide variety of cancers. Its versatility has also been demonstrated by its application as a tool for mining a wide variety of biological tissues and fluids.


The majority of these studies have discriminated between diseased and healthy controls with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. The reproducibility, standardization and feasibility of this technology need to be addressed before these proteomic approaches to the discovery of novel, highly sensitive diagnostic tools can become routine clinical care.

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