Perspectives on new biomarkers in gastric cancer: diagnostic and prognostic applications

World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Sep 7;20(33):11574-85. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i33.11574.


Gastric cancer is considered one of the most deadly tumors worldwide. Even with the decline in its incidence, the mortality rate of this disease has remained high, mainly due to its late diagnosis and to the lack of precise prognostic markers. The main purpose of this review is to present genetic, epigenetic and proteomic molecular markers that may be used in a diagnostic and prognostic manner and to discuss the pros and cons of each type of marker for improving clinical practice. In this sense, we observed that the use of genetic markers, especially mutations and polymorphisms, should be carefully considered, as they are strongly affected by ethnicity. Proteomic-based markers show promise, but the higher costs of the associated techniques continue to make this approach expensive for routine use. Alternatively, epigenetic markers appear to be very promising, as they can be detected in bodily fluids as well as tissues. However, such markers must be used carefully because epigenetic changes may occur due to environmental factors and aging. Despite the advances in technology and its access, to date, there are few defined biomarkers of prognostic and diagnostic use for gastric tumors. Therefore, the use of a panel of several approaches (genetic, epigenetic and proteomic) should be considered the best alternative for clinical practice.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Epigenetic; Gastric tumors; Genetic; Molecular markers; Prognosis; Proteomic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / blood
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor