The proteins in tissue interstitial fluids (TIFs) can spread into the blood and have been proposed as an ideal material to find blood biomarkers. The colon TIFs were collected from 8-, 13-, 18-, and 22-week ApcMin/+, a typical mouse model of colorectal cancer (CRC), and wild-type mice. iTRAQ-based quantification proteomics was conducted to survey the TIF proteins whose abundance appeared to depend on tumor progression. A total of 46 proteins that exhibited consecutive changes in abundance were identified, including six serine proteases, chymotrypsin-like elastase 1 (CELA1), chymotrypsin-like elastase 2A (CEL2A), chymopasin, chymotrypsinogen B (CTRB1), trypsin 2 (TRY2), and trypsin 4 (TRY4). The observed increases in the abundance of serine proteases were supported in another quantitative evaluation of the individual colon TIFs using a multiple reaction monitor (MRM) assay. Importantly, the increases in the abundance of serine proteases were also verified in the corresponding sera. The quantitative verification of the serine proteases was further extended to the clinical sera, revealing significantly higher levels of CELA1, CEL2A, CTRL/chymopasin, and TRY2 in CRC patients. The receiver operating characteristic analysis illustrated that the combination of CELA1 and CTRL reached the best diagnostic performance, with 90.0% sensitivity and 80.0% specificity. Thus, the quantitative target analysis demonstrated that some serine proteases are indicative of CRC progression.
Keywords: biomarker; colorectal cancer; serine proteases; serum; tissue interstitial fluid.