Current Standards and Recent Advances in Biomarkers of Major Endocrine Tumors

Front Pharmacol. 2018 Sep 10;9:963. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00963. eCollection 2018.


The complexity of endocrine tumor diagnosis stems from its variable symptoms and presentation that may mimic many other disease states, or display asymptomatic properties for a prolonged amount of time. Early and accurate disease identification is needed for better patient prognosis. The key to this may be in using validated biomarkers with enhanced sensitivity and specificity. Several biomarkers are consistently used across various endocrine tumor types, possibly indicating a deeper pathophysiological mechanism behind endocrine cancer genesis and development. For example, carbohydrate antigen (CA) is measured in both pancreatic adenocarcinoma as well as ovarian cancer for diagnosis, surveillance, and risk stratification. The discovery of measuring miRNAs that are highly expressed in malignant tumors is also a novel strategy across multiple endocrine tumor types, and is propelling the future advancement of biomarker development. This review introduces currently utilized biomarkers in some of the commonly known endocrine tumors, including thyroid, adrenal, pituitary, pancreatic, and gonadal carcinoma, as well as future research directions.

Keywords: adrenal carcinoma; biomarkers; neuroendocrine carcinoma; pituitary carcinoma; thyroid carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Review