To date, no effective treatment is available for advanced cancers, which remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Clearly, there is urgent need to unravel novel biomarkers for early detection. Proteomic approaches for the identification of novel biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and staging have traditionally relied on the identification of differentially expressed proteins between tumour cells and their normal counterparts based on the patterns of protein expression observed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE-PAGE). Recent advances in mass spectrometry and bioinformatics and statistical algorithms necessary to interpret mass spectrometric data have revolutionized the approach to defining new tumour markers. Proteomics studies have generated numerous datasets of potential prognostic, diagnostic and therapeutic significance in human cancer. In this review we will discuss the available proteomic technologies their limitations and highlight the key areas of research required for understanding the aetiology of cancer and how they have been used to discover cancer biomarkers.
Keywords: Biomarkers, MALDI-TOF, mass spectrometry, 2DE gels, cancer
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