Background: The development of clinically accessible biomarkers is critical for the early diagnosis of gastric cancer (GC) in patients. High-throughput proteomics techniques could not only effectively generate a serum peptide profile but also provide a new approach to identify potentially diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for cancer patients.
Methods: In this study, we aim to identify potentially discriminating serum biomarkers for GC. In the discovery cohort, we screened potential biomarkers using magnetic-bead-based purification and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry in 64 samples from 32 GC patients that were taken both pre- and post-operatively and 30 healthy volunteers that served as controls. In the validation cohort, the expression patterns and diagnostic values of serum FGA, AHSG and APOA-I were further confirmed by ELISA in 42 paired GC patients (pre- and post-operative samples from 16 patients with pathologic stage I/II and 26 with stage III/IV), 30 colorectal cancer patients, 30 hepatocellular carcinoma patients, and 28 healthy volunteers.
Results: ClinProTools software was used and annotated 107 peptides, 12 of which were differentially expressed among three groups (P < 0.0001, fold > 1.5). These 12 peptide peaks were further identified as FGA, AHSG, APOA-I, HBB, TXNRD1, GSPT2 and CAKP5. ELISA data suggested that the serum levels of FGA, AHSG and APOA-I in GC patients were significantly different compared with healthy controls and had favorable diagnostic values for GC patients. Moreover, we found that the serum levels of these three proteins were associated with TNM stages and could reflect tumor burden.
Conclusion: Our findings suggested that FGA, AHSG and APOA-I might be potential serum biomarkers for GC diagnosis.
Keywords: AHSG; APOA-I; Biomarker; FGA; Gastric cancer.