In last decades, the basic, clinical, and translational research efforts have been directed to the identification of standard biomarkers associated with the degree of malignancy. There is an increasingly public health concern for earlier detection of cancer development at stages in which successful treatments can be achieved. To meet this urgent clinical demand, early stage cancer biomarkers supported by reliable and robust experimental data that can be readily applicable in the clinical practice, are required. In the current standard protocols, when one or two of the canonical proliferating index biomarkers are analyzed, contradictory results are frequently reached leading to incorrect cancer diagnostic and unsuccessful therapies. Therefore, the identification of other cellular characteristics or signatures present in the tumor cells either alone or in combination with the well-established proliferation markers emerge as an alternative strategy in the improvement of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Because it is well known that several pathways and processes are altered in tumor cells, the concept of "single marker" in cancer results incorrect. Therefore, this review aims to analyze and discuss the proposal that the molecular profile of different genes or proteins in different altered tumor pathways must be established to provide a better global clinical pattern for cancer detection and prognosis.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.