Mining the proteome - the application of tandem mass spectrometry to endocrine cancer research.

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) is at the forefront of proteome based cancer research, permitting the detection of femtomolar amounts of protein from a wide variety of tissue sources. As endocrine cancers are frequently aetiologically complex, they are particularly amenable to mass spectrometry. The most widely studied aspect is the search for novel, reliable biomarkers which will allow cancers to be diagnosed earlier and distinguished from benign tumours. MS/MS allows for the rapid analysis of blood and urine in addition to tumour tissue, and in this regard has been applied to research involving thyroid, pancreatic, adrenal and ovarian cancer with varying degrees of success. The description of an individual cancer proteome potentially allows for personalised management of each patient, avoiding unnecessary therapies and targeting treatments to those which will have the most effect. The application of MS/MS to interaction proteomics is a field that has generated recent novel targets for chemotherapy. However, the technology involved in MS/MS has a number of drawbacks that at present prevent its widespread use in translational cancer research. There is poor reproducibility of results, in part due to the large amount of data generated and the inability to accurately differentiate true from false positive results. Further, current cost of running MS/MS restricts the number of times experiments can be repeated, contributing to the lack of significance and concordance between studies. Despite these problems, however, MS/MS is emerging as a front line tool in endocrine cancer research and it is likely that this will continue over the next decade.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalEndocrine-related cancer
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2012

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