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Int J Oncol. 2012 Jan;40(1):148-56. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.1186. Epub 2011 Sep 5.

Comparison of peptide cancer signatures identified by mass spectrometry in serum of patients with head and neck, lung and colorectal cancers: association with tumor progression.

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Maria Skłodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, Gliwice, Poland.


Mass spectrometry-based analyses of the low-molecular-weight fraction of serum proteome allow identifying proteome profiles (signatures) that are potentially useful in detection and diagnostics of cancer. Here we compared serum proteome profiles of healthy donors and patients with three different types of cancer aiming to identify peptide signatures that were either common for all cancer samples or specific for cancer type. Blood samples were collected before start of the therapy from patients with head and neck squamous cell cancer, colorectal adenocarcinoma and non-small cell lung cancer, and from a corresponding group of healthy volunteers. Mass profiles of the serum proteome were recorded in the range between 2 and 13 kDa using MALDI-ToF spectrometry and 131 identified peptide ions were used for statistical analyses. Similar degrees of overall similarities were observed in all intra-group and inter-group analyses when general features of serum proteome profiles were compared between individual samples. However, classifiers built of selected spectral components allowed differentiation between healthy donors and three groups of cancer patients with 69-74% sensitivity and 82-84% specificity. There were two common peptide species (3766 and 5867 Da) with increased levels in all cancer samples. Several spectral components permitted differentiation between lung cancer samples and either head and neck cancer or colorectal cancer samples, but two latter types of samples could not be properly discriminated. Abundance of spectral components that putatively corresponded to fragments of serum amyloid A (11511 and 11667 Da) was highest in lung cancer samples, yet increased levels of these peptides appeared to generally associate with more advanced cancer cases. We concluded that certain components of serum peptide signatures are common for different cancer signatures and putatively reflect general response of organism to the disease, yet other components of such signatures are more specific and most likely correspond to clinical stage of the malignancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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