Serum proteomics of glioma: methods and applications

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2009 Oct;9(7):695-707. doi: 10.1586/erm.09.52.


The prognosis of patients with glioblastoma, the most malignant adult glial brain tumor, remains poor in spite of advances in treatment procedures, including surgical resection, irradiation and chemotherapy. Genetic heterogeneity of glioblastoma warrants extensive studies in order to gain a thorough understanding of the biology of this tumor. While there have been several studies of global transcript profiling of glioma with the identification of gene signatures for diagnosis and disease management, translation into clinics is yet to happen. Serum biomarkers have the potential to revolutionize the process of cancer diagnosis, grading, prognostication and treatment response monitoring. Besides having the advantage that serum can be obtained through a less invasive procedure, it contains molecules at an extraordinary dynamic range of ten orders of magnitude in terms of their concentrations. While the conventional methods, such as 2DE, have been in use for many years, the ability to identify the proteins through mass spectrometry techniques such as MALDI-TOF led to an explosion of interest in proteomics. Relatively new high-throughput proteomics methods such as SELDI-TOF and protein microarrays are expected to hasten the process of serum biomarker discovery. This review will highlight the recent advances in the proteomics platform in discovering serum biomarkers and the current status of glioma serum markers. We aim to provide the principles and potential of the latest proteomic approaches and their applications in the biomarker discovery process. Besides providing a comprehensive list of available serum biomarkers of glioma, we will also propose how these markers will revolutionize the clinical management of glioma patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / blood*
  • Glioma / blood*
  • Humans
  • Proteomics*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization