Proteomics has the potential to revolutionise diagnosis and disease management. Serum protein pattern profiling by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionisation time of flight (SELDI-TOF) mass spectrometry is emerging as a novel approach to discover protein patterns capable of distinguishing disease and disease-free states with high sensitivity and specificity. This method has shown great promise for early diagnosis of ovarian cancer and is being applied to a range of pathological states. Protein microarray technology is being evaluated as a new means to track biological responses to therapy. Through the measurement of key protein phosphorylation sites at different stages of disease progression or before and after treatment, protein signal pathways can be mapped and thus become the starting point for individualised therapy. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) coupled with immunostaining of protein microarrays allows isolation of pure cell populations and relative quantitation of phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated forms of the cell's key signalling proteins. This technology is currently in use at the National Institutes of Health in Phase 11 clinical trials of metastatic breast and ovarian cancer. Cell survival and apoptotic protein pathways are monitored as biological markers of disease progression in these clinical trials. Proteomic technologies, such as serum protein pattern profiling, combined with protein microarray, technologies, constitute a new paradigm for detecting disease and monitoring disease response to therapy. Ultimately, proteomics and genomics will become integrated into cancer patient management through the design and tracking of inclividualised therapy.
- Individualised therapy
- Laser capture microdissection
- Mass spectrometry
- Protein microarray