Research ArticleProteomics

Reproducible Quantification of Cancer-Associated Proteins in Body Fluids Using Targeted Proteomics

Science Translational Medicine  11 Jul 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 142, pp. 142ra94
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003989

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Dealing with Data Overload

With the exponential blossoming of information sources—from 24-hour news to blogs to Twitter feeds—it can be difficult to differentiate fact from fiction. Translational medicine is experiencing a parallel mushrooming of data in research on disease biomarkers. Whereas marker validation once occurred on a case by case basis, the literature now bulges with potential biomarkers at diverse stages of validation, and researchers and clinicians are hard-pressed to make sense of it all. Now, Hüttenhain et al. provide a modern validation method that can keep up with the current pace of biomarker-candidate generation.

The authors report on a high-throughput method for developing selected reaction-monitoring (SRM) assays (targeted mass spectrometry) for human proteins. SRM assays can be run in parallel and have low limits of detection and high accuracy. They then used these assays—for more than 1000 cancer-associated proteins—to determine the detectability of the target proteins in plasma and urine from cancer patients and healthy controls. They detected 182 proteins in plasma and 408 in urine, and reproducibly quantified 34 biomarker candidates across 83 patient plasma samples. These SRM assays can be broadly applied for cancer-associated biomarker validation and should help provide a filter to stem information overload.