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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Jan 1;26(1):96-105. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

Protein biomarker identification in the CSF of patients with CNS lymphoma.

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PPD Biomarker Discovery Sciences, LLC, Menlo Park, CA, USA.



Elucidation of the CSF proteome may yield insights into the pathogenesis of CNS disease. We tested the hypothesis that individual CSF proteins distinguish CNS lymphoma from benign focal brain lesions.


We used a liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry-based method to differentially quantify and identify several hundred CSF proteins in CNS lymphoma and control patients. We used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to confirm one of these markers in an additional validation set of 101 cases.


Approximately 80 CSF proteins were identified and found to be present at significantly different concentrations, both higher and lower, in training and test studies, which were highly concordant. To further validate these observations, we defined in detail the expression of one of these candidate biomarkers, antithrombin III (ATIII). ATIII RNA transcripts were identified within CNS lymphomas, and ATIII protein was localized selectively to tumor neovasculature. Determination of ATIII concentration by ELISA was significantly more accurate (> 75% sensitivity; > 98% specificity) than cytology in the identification of cancer. Measurement of CSF ATIII levels was found to potentially enhance the ability to diagnose and predict outcome.


Our findings demonstrate for the first time that proteomic analysis of CSF yields individual biomarkers with greater sensitivity in the identification of cancer than does CSF cytology. We propose that the discovery of CSF protein biomarkers will facilitate early and noninvasive diagnosis in patients with lesions not amenable to brain biopsy, as well as provide improved surrogates of prognosis and treatment response in CNS lymphoma and brain metastasis.

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