Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein expression holds promise for head and neck cancer detection

12.05.2006


The blood of patients with head and neck cancer appears to have unique patterns of protein expression that one day could serve as a screening test for the highly aggressive cancer that is often diagnosed too late, researchers say.



Studies comparing protein expression in 78 patients with head and neck cancer to 68 healthy controls revealed numerous differences in protein expression, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

“We found scores and scores of proteins that were differentially expressed,” says Dr. Christine Gourin, MCG otolaryngologist specializing in head and neck cancer and the study’s lead author. “We found there are at least eight proteins whose expression significantly differs between controls and people with cancer.”


This protein fingerprint correctly classified study participants as cancer patients with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity – 82 percent and 76 percent, respectively, according to research published in the current issue of Archives of Otolaryngology.

“If these results hold up over time, they would suggest that this would be a good screening test for at-risk people,” Dr. Gourin says. “Right now there is no good, effective screening test for head and neck cancer short of physical examination. Unfortunately it takes the development of symptoms to warrant a visit to the doctor, such as a sore throat; ear, tongue or mouth pain; painful eating or swallowing; or a change in the voice. Sometimes the first sign is a lump in the neck which is already a sign of an advanced tumor that has spread to the lymph nodes.”

Belated diagnoses translate to fairly dismal survival rates: less than 50 percent five years following diagnosis of stage three or four tumors, Dr. Gourin says. The rare patient who is diagnosed early faces much better odds: voice box cancer caught in stage one has about a 95 percent five-year survival, for example.

The goal is to screen high-risk populations – those with a history of alcohol and/or tobacco use – as well as those with head- and neck-specific complaints who don’t have those risk factors, says Dr. Gourin. She notes that about 20 percent of head and neck cancer patients have no history of alcohol or tobacco use.

Advanced proteomics technology – which can be applied to many tumor types – enables protein expression to be plotted on graphs that illustrate peaks and valleys. “Sometimes the underexpression of a protein may be significant,” Dr. Gourin says.

The unique patterns surfacing may one day provide more than screening. Study findings indicate the protein fingerprint also is highly successful at classifying specific types of head and neck cancer, correctly classifying 83 percent of oral cavity tumors and 88 percent of laryngeal tumors, as examples, researchers say.

Also, in a small subset of 12 patients, protein expression helped researchers correctly classify how cancers responded to treatment, indicating its effectiveness in long-term follow-up, Dr. Gourin says. “We could easily use this to follow patients for life and detect any recurrence early as well as improve our ability to detect a second primary tumor, which occurs in about 8 percent of people,” she says.

Clinical availability of a screening test for head and neck cancer is still years away, says Dr. Bao-Ling Adam, MCG cancer researcher and study co-author. But the researchers are continuing to make progress, already collecting more patient data to ensure that the patterns they have identified in the blood are effective biomarkers for head and neck cancer. Dr. Gourin is considering opening the study to other medical centers to increase numbers possibly into the thousands.

They also want to know if protein expression patterns found in the blood are expressed by cancer cells themselves, says Dr. Adam, who has begun doing proteomics studies on the cancerous tissue of surgery patients to find out. “What we see in the blood could be from the cancer cells or from the body’s response to cancer,” she says.

If they are the same, the proteins also could yield novel therapeutic agents, Dr. Adam says.

This will help solidify the link between the protein patterns and cancer as well. “For screening you really have to use body fluids: blood, saliva, urine,” says Dr. Adam. “When the normal cell transforms to a cancer cell, we want to see the changes within the cells. When we find the protein differences between cancer cells and normal cells, we can use this information to detect head and neck cancer.”

Interestingly, to date they have not found any proteins expressed by cancer that are not expressed normally; the difference is a matter of degrees of expression, says Dr. Adam, who also is using proteomics to find a better biomarker than prostate specific antigen, or PSA, for prostate cancer.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcg.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht TSRI researchers develop new method to 'fingerprint' HIV
29.03.2017 | Scripps Research Institute

nachricht Periodic ventilation keeps more pollen out than tilted-open windows
29.03.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>