Proteomic identification of haptoglobin α2 as a glioblastoma serum biomarker: implications in cancer cell migration and tumor growth

J Proteome Res. 2010 Nov 5;9(11):5557-67. doi: 10.1021/pr1001737. Epub 2010 Sep 28.


Glioblastoma (GBM; grade IV astrocytoma) is the most malignant and common primary brain tumor in adults. Using combination of 2-DE and MALDI-TOF MS, we analyzed 14 GBM and 6 normal control sera and identified haptoglobin α2 chain as an up-regulated serum protein in GBM patients. GBM-specific up-regulation was confirmed by ELISA based quantitation of haptoglobin (Hp) in the serum of 99 GBM patients as against lower grades (49 grade III/AA; 26 grade II/DA) and 26 normal individuals (p = 0.0001). Further validation using RT-qPCR on an independent set (n = 78) of tumor and normal brain (n = 4) samples and immunohistochemcial staining on a subset (n = 42) of above samples showed increasing levels of transcript and protein with tumor grade and were highest in GBM (p = <0.0001 and <0.0001, respectively). Overexpression of Hp either by stable integration of Hp cDNA or exogenous addition of purified Hp to immortalized astrocytes resulted in increased cell migration. RNAi-mediated silencing of Hp in glioma cells decreased cell migration. Further, we demonstrate that both human glioma and mouse melanoma cells overexpressing Hp showed increased tumor growth. Thus, we have identified haptoglobin as a GBM-specific serum marker with a role on glioma tumor growth and migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / chemistry
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Glioblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Haptoglobins / analysis*
  • Haptoglobins / genetics
  • Haptoglobins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / chemistry
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Mice
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • HP protein, human
  • Haptoglobins