Using Proteomics Methods to Diagnose Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a virulent form of the disease, with a nearly 50 percent mortality rate. Early diagnosis is one of the keys to successful treatment; patients whose cancer is found and treated early have a much better survival rate. Unfortunately, the current method of diagnosing the disease, which involves excision and biopsy of tissue, is both invasive and expensive. It is also prone to errors because of under-sampling. A better method for diagnosing this disease would be a great benefit.

Two MSI Principal Investigators, Associate Professor Frank Ondrey (Director of Research and Clinical Trials,  Otolaryngology - Medical School) and Associate Professor Timothy Griffin (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics - Medical School and College of Biological Sciences), are co-authors with several colleagues from China and the University of Minnesota on a recent paper in PLos One that discusses a new, proteomics-based method of diagnosing oral cancer. Cells retrieved via a non-invasive oral brush biopsy were tested using mass spectrometry-based proteomics. The researchers found that the secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) was greatly reduced in samples from cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions, compared to normal tissue. This suggests that the reduction in SLPI could be a biomarker for oral cancer.

The paper can be read on the PLoS One website (Yang, Ya, Nelson L. Rhodus, Frank G. Ondrey, Beverly R. K. Wuertz, Xiaobing Chen, Yaqin Zhu, and Timothy J. Griffin. 2014. Quantitative proteomic analysis of oral brush biopsies identifies secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor as a promising, mechanism-based oral cancer biomarker. PLoS One 9 (4) (APR 18), 10.1371/journal.pone.0095389.). The authors used MSI software and hardware to perform data analysis.

Image description: A. Brush biopsy collection and sample preparation protocol. B. Experimental design for quantitative MSI-based proteomics experiments. One experiment used matched tissue from oral premalignant lesion tissue, and the second used matched tissue from oral squamous cell carcinoma. Image and description, Y Yang et al., 2014, PLoS One, 10.1371/journal.pone.0095389.

posted on October 29, 2014

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