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Adv Cancer Res. 2007;96:23-50.

Mass spectrometry: uncovering the cancer proteome for diagnostics.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario M5G1X5, Canada.


Despite impressive scientific achievements over the past few decades, cancer is still a leading cause of death. One of the major reasons is that most cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced disease. This is clearly illustrated with ovarian cancer in which the overall 5-year survival rates are only 20-30%. Conversely, when ovarian cancer is detected early (stage 1), the 5-year survival rate increases to 95%. Biomarkers, as tools for preclinical detection of cancer, have the potential to revolutionize the field of clinical diagnostics. The emerging field of clinical proteomics has found applications across a wide spectrum of cancer research. This chapter will focus on mass spectrometry as a proteomic technology implemented in three areas of cancer: diagnostics, tissue imaging, and biomarker discovery. Despite its power, it is also important to realize the preanalytical, analytical, and postanalytical limitations currently associated with this methodology. The ultimate endpoint of clinical proteomics is individualized therapy. It is essential that research groups, the industry, and physicians collaborate to conduct large prospective, multicenter clinical trials to validate and standardize this technology, for it to have real clinical impact.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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