Proteomics in investigation of cancer metastasis: functional and clinical consequences and methodological challenges

Proteomics. 2014 Mar;14(4-5):426-40. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201300264. Epub 2014 Jan 6.


Metastases are responsible for most of the cases of death in patients with solid tumors. There is thus an urgent clinical need of better understanding the exact molecular mechanisms and finding novel therapeutics targets and biomarkers of metastatic disease of various tumors. Metastases are formed in a complicated biological process called metastatic cascade. Up to now, proteomics has enabled the identification of number of metastasis-associated proteins and potential biomarkers in cancer tissues, microdissected cells, model systems, and secretomes. Expression profiles and biological role of key proteins were confirmed in verification and functional experiments. This communication reviews these observations and analyses the methodological aspects of the proteomics approaches used. Moreover, it reviews contribution of current proteomics in the field of functional characterization and interactome analysis of proteins involved in various events in metastatic cascade. It is evident that ongoing technical progress will further increase proteome coverage and sample capacity of proteomics technologies, giving complex answers to clinical and functional questions asked.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Biomedicine; Functional studies; Metastasis; Surface proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microdissection
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proteomics*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor