Epitomics: serum screening for the early detection of cancer on microarrays using complex panels of tumor antigens

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2005 Sep;5(5):735-43. doi: 10.1586/14737159.5.5.735.


Efforts toward the development of early detection assays for cancers have traditionally depended on single biomarker molecules. Current technologies have been disappointing and have not resulted in diagnostic tests suitable for clinical practice. Using a high-throughput cloning method, a panel of epitopes/antigens that react with autoantibodies to tumor proteins in the serum of patients with ovarian cancer have been isolated. Discovery of biomarker panels was directed in an unbiased fashion by cloning a large panel of epitopes or tumor antigens, rather than individual biomarkers without a previous notion of their function. The binding properties of these serum antitumor antibodies on microarrays and advanced bioinformatics tools led to a panel of diagnostic antigens. The sequences that were identified using this new technology will lead to the discovery of novel disease-related proteins that have diagnostic value for the presymptomatic detection of cancer. It has been demonstrated that this approach can detect these autoantibodies in the sera of Stage I ovarian cancer patients. There are numerous advantages of employing serum antibodies as the analytes, not the least of which is the ability to rapidly adapt these assays to standard clinical platforms. This technology of global epitope/antigen profiling is referred to as 'epitomics'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / classification
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Neoplasms / blood*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Protein Array Analysis / methods*
  • Time Factors


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor