Biomarker assay translation from discovery to clinical studies in cancer drug development: quantification of emerging protein biomarkers

Adv Cancer Res. 2007;96:269-98. doi: 10.1016/S0065-230X(06)96010-2.


Many candidate biomarkers emerging from genomics and proteomics research have the potential to serve as predictive indexes for guiding the development of safer and more efficacious drugs. Research and development of biomarker discovery, selection, and clinical qualification, however, is still a relatively new field for the pharmaceutical industry. Advances in technology provide a plethora of analytical tools to discover and analyze mechanism-and-disease-specific biomarkers for drug development. In the discovery phase, differential proteomic analysis using mass spectrometry enables the identification of candidate biomarkers that are associated with a specific mechanism relevant to disease progression and affected by drug treatment. Reliable bioanalytical methods are then developed and implemented to select promising biomarkers for further studies in animals and humans. Quantitative analytical methods capable of generating reliable data constitute a solid basis for statistical assessment of the predictive utility of biomarkers. Biomarker method validation is diverse and for purposes that are very different from those of drug bioanalysis or diagnostic use. Besides being flexible, it should sufficiently demonstrate the method's ability to meet the study intent and the attendant regulatory requirements. Several papers have been published outlining specific requirements for successful biomarker method development and validation using a "Fit-for-Purpose" approach. Many of the challenges faced during biomarker discovery as well as during technology and process translation are discussed in this chapter, including preanalytical planning, assay development, and preclinical and clinical validation. Specific references to protein biomarkers for cancer drug development are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Design*
  • Genomics / methods
  • Humans
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / trends*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Proteomics / methods


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor