Multiplexing determination of small cell lung cancer biomarkers and their isovariants in serum by immunocapture LC-MS/MS

Anal Chem. 2014 Jul 15;86(14):6983-92. doi: 10.1021/ac500986t. Epub 2014 Jul 1.


A multiplex method for the determination of the small cell lung cancer (SCLC) markers progastrin releasing peptide (ProGRP) and neuron specific enolase (NSE) is presented, which involves coextraction by immunoaffinity (IA) beads and codetermination by selected reaction monitoring (SRM). The performance was compared with two IA SRM methods which were recently validated for individual marker determination. The multiplexing method reduces sample volume, handling time per sample, and reagent consumption and shows good linearity, recovery, quantitative measurements, and sensitivity with lower limit of detection (LLOD) values of 7.2 pM (=90 pg/mL) and 4.5 pM (=210 pg/mL) and lower limit of quantitation (LLOQ) values of 24 pM (=300 pg/mL) and 15 pM (=700 pg/mL), for total ProGRP and γ-NSE, respectively. The novel aspect of this approach is the multiplexing of ProGRP and NSE with the additional ability to perform fingerprinting by the selective determination of ProGRP isoform 1, ProGRP isoform 3, and total ProGRP, as well as the α- and the γ-subunit of NSE isoenzymes. Six serum samples from patients with SCLC were analyzed to demonstrate the methods feasibility to simultaneously differ between and individually quantify ProGRP, NSE, and their isoform and isoenzyme variants, respectively. Both the presence of and variation between all the isoforms and isoenzymes, as well as covarying results with the conventional immunometric assays for total ProGRP and γ-NSE, were seen in the analyses of patient serum samples.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Calibration
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Isoenzymes / blood
  • Limit of Detection
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / blood*
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / blood*
  • Protein Isoforms / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins / blood
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / blood
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Isoenzymes
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • pro-gastrin-releasing peptide (31-98)
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase