Proteomic technologies for the identification of disease biomarkers in serum: advances and challenges ahead

Proteomics. 2011 Jun;11(11):2139-61. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201000460. Epub 2011 May 4.


Serum is an ideal biological sample that contains an archive of information due to the presence of a variety of proteins released by diseased tissue, and serum proteomics has gained considerable interest for the disease biomarker discovery. Easy accessibility and rapid protein changes in response to disease pathogenesis makes serum an attractive sample for clinical research. Despite these advantages, the analysis of serum proteome is very challenging due to the wide dynamic range of proteins, difficulty in finding low-abundance target analytes due to the presence of high-abundance serum proteins, high levels of salts and other interfering compounds, variations among individuals and paucity of reproducibility. Sample preparation introduces pre-analytical variations and poses major challenges to analyze the serum proteome. The label-free detection techniques such as surface plasmon resonance, microcantilever, few nanotechniques and different resonators are rapidly emerging for the analysis of serum proteome and they have exhibited potential to overcome few limitations of the conventional techniques. In this article, we will discuss the current status of serum proteome analysis for the biomarker discovery and address key technological advancements, with a focus on challenges and amenable solutions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Biotechnology
  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Disease
  • Nanostructures / chemistry
  • Proteomics / instrumentation
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Proteomics / trends


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Proteins