But the researchers, who also hailed from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Northwestern University in Chicago, say they don't yet know what the proteins are or how they even function in a tumor.
Still, the work is so suggestive that Mills and researchers at the NCI and Northwestern are using the protein combination to see if it can detect ovarian cancer patients at several institutions. That study, soon to be completed, will likely be followed by a prospective multicenter clinical trial to validate the proteomics approach to diagnosing ovarian cancer.
"Our goal is to find and classify patterns of protein changes that we can use to detect and predict cancer and other diseases," Mills says.
Subtypes of colon, lung cancer
As more and more subtypes of cancer are discovered, the need for biomolecular markers has become clearer and more urgent, M. D. Anderson researchers say.
Colon cancer is a good example of tumor diversity. It is not just one uniform disease; there are many subtypes that behave in biologically different ways, and some are more prone to spread than others.
Figuring out which colon cancer is more or less dangerous has been the research focus of Robert Bresalier, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medicine and Nutrition in the Division of Internal Medicine.
Such knowledge, Bresalier believes, may pave the way to improved diagnosis and therapy. So far, the pursuit has resulted in "substantial progress in finding sensitive, clinically useful biomarkers," he says.
Bresalier and his colleagues have found several proteins associated with colon
Contact: Nancy Jensen
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center