Translational Research and Plasma Proteomic in Cancer

J Cell Biochem. 2016 Apr;117(4):828-35. doi: 10.1002/jcb.25413. Epub 2015 Dec 8.


Proteomics is a recent field of research in molecular biology that can help in the fight against cancer through the search for biomarkers that can detect this disease in the early stages of its development. Proteomic is a speedily growing technology, also thanks to the development of even more sensitive and fast mass spectrometry analysis. Although this technique is the most widespread for the discovery of new cancer biomarkers, it still suffers of a poor sensitivity and insufficient reproducibility, essentially due to the tumor heterogeneity. Common technical shortcomings include limitations in the sensitivity of detecting low abundant biomarkers and possible systematic biases in the observed data. Current research attempts are trying to develop high-resolution proteomic instrumentation for high-throughput monitoring of protein changes that occur in cancer. In this review, we describe the basic features of the proteomic tools which have proven to be useful in cancer research, showing their advantages and disadvantages. The application of these proteomic tools could provide early biomarkers detection in various cancer types and could improve the understanding the mechanisms of tumor growth and dissemination.


Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Proteins / blood
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proteomics / instrumentation
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Translational Research, Biomedical


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins