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Analyst. 2010 Oct;135(10):2496-511. doi: 10.1039/c0an00204f. Epub 2010 Jul 8.

Measurement of biomarker proteins for point-of-care early detection and monitoring of cancer.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Connecticut, 55 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA.


This critical review evaluates progress toward viable point-of-care protein biomarker measurements for cancer detection and diagnostics. The ability to measure panels of specific, selective cancer biomarker proteins in physicians' surgeries and clinics has the potential to revolutionize cancer detection, monitoring, and therapy. The dream envisions reliable, cheap, automated, technically undemanding devices that can analyze a patient's serum or saliva in a clinical setting, allowing on-the-spot diagnosis. Existing commercial products for protein assays are reliable in laboratory settings, but have limitations for point-of-care applications. A number of ultrasensitive immunosensors and some arrays have been developed, many based on nanotechnology. Multilabel detection coupled with high capture molecule density in immunosensors and arrays seems to be capable of detecting a wide range of protein concentrations with sensitivity ranging into the sub pg mL(-1) level. Multilabel arrays can be designed to detect both high and ultralow abundance proteins in the same sample. However, only a few of the newer ultrasensitive methods have been evaluated with real patient samples, which is key to establishing clinical sensitivity and selectivity.

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