Novel proteomics strategies aid cancer research

This month’s issue of the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics features research using novel proteomics methods to address unanswered questions in cancer research, including protein variation within tumors; the failure of some candidate cancer drugs; and how chemotherapeutic combinations act synergistically.

Spatial protein profiling reveals variability within tumors

It is well established that tumors, even those of the same type, have different genetics and forms. This variation not only exists between tumors from different patients but also across parts of the very same tumor. It remains largely unknown to what extent the proteins in any given tumor varies. In a study described in MCP, Martin Beck and a group of researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory attempt to find out.

“We were interested to find out if the proteins contained within individual cells of the tumor are the same or different,” Beck said. The researchers used laser-capture microdissection to profile protein expression in different parts of sample biopsies from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.

They first quantified differences of protein expression between the tumor tissue and the normal tissue immediately adjacent to it, finding some well-known HCC markers and a few novel


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