Current status and prospects of clinical proteomics studies on detection of colorectal cancer: hopes and fears

World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Nov 7;12(41):6594-601. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i41.6594.


Colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRC) is the third most common type of cancer and the fourth most frequent cause of death due to cancer worldwide. Given the natural history of CRC, early diagnosis appears to be the most appropriate tool to reduce disease-related mortality. A field of recent interest is clinical proteomics, which was reported to lead to high sensitivity and specificities for early detection of several solid tumors. This emerging field uses mass spectrometry-based protein profiles/patterns of easy accessible body fluids to distinguish cancer from non-cancer patients. These discrepancies may be a result of: (1) proteins being abnormally produced or shed and added to the serum proteome, (2) proteins clipped or modified as a consequence of the disease process, or (3) proteins subtracted from the proteome owing to disease-related proteolytic degradation pathways. Therefore, protein pattern diagnostics would provide easy and reliable tools for detection of cancer. This paper focuses on the current status of clinical proteomics research in oncology and in colorectal cancer especially, and will reflect on pitfalls and fears in this relatively new area of clinical medicine, which are reproducibility issues and pre-analytical factors, statistical issues, and identification and nature of discriminating proteins/peptides.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Proteomics / trends
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers, Tumor