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Proteomics. 2008 Aug;8(15):3051-60. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200700951.

Validation of reverse phase protein array for practical screening of potential biomarkers in serum and plasma: accurate detection of CA19-9 levels in pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.


The current study analyzed reverse phase protein arrays (RPPA) as a means to experimentally validate biomarkers in blood samples. One microliter samples of sera (n = 71), and plasma (n = 78) were serially diluted and printed on NC-coated slides. CA19-9 levels from RPPA results were compared with identical patient samples as measured by ELISA. There was a strong correlation between RPPA and ELISA (r = 0.87) as determined by scatter plots. Sample reproducibility of CA19-9 levels was excellent (interslide correlation r = 0.88; intraslide correlation r = 0.83). The ability of RPPA to accurately distinguish CA19-9 levels between cancer and noncancer samples were determined using receiver operating characteristic curves and compared with ELISA. The AUC for RPPA and ELISA was comparable (0.87 and 0.86, respectively). When the mean CA19-9 levels of normal samples was used as a cutoff for RPPA and compared with the standard clinical ELISA cutoff, comparable specificities (71% for both) were observed. Notably, RPPA samples normalized to albumin showed increased sensitivity compared to ELISA (90% vs. 75%). As RPPA is a high-throughput method that shows results comparable to that of ELISA, we propose that RPPA is a viable technique for rapid experimental screening and validation of candidate biomarkers in blood samples.

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