THE HUMAN PROTEIN ATLAS BLOG
Cancer biomarkers identified
In two recent publications the group of Fredrik PontÚn in Uppsala has identified two very strong, independent biomarkers for the prognostic stratification of breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma.
Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of cancer affecting the kidney and there is an unmet clinical need for better prognostic and diagnostic tools for it. Diagnosis and subtyping of renal cell carcinoma are achieved through the morphological analysis of tumor sections. The application of immunohistochemistry can reveal important additional clues during the diagnostic work-up.
The study published in BMC Cancer utilized the vast data resources generated by the Human Protein Atlas project to identify novel biomarkers of clinical relevance for patients with renal cell carcinoma. Cubilin was identified and validated as a marker with the potential to classify RCC patients into low- and high-risk groups, as loss of cubilin expression was significantly and independently associated with less favorable patient outcome. In addition, cubilin expression appears highly specific for renal cell carcinoma compared to other types of cancer, rendering cubilin a possible clinical role in cancer differential diagnostics.
The other study from the same group, also published in BMC Cancer, focused on finding biomarkers for breast cancer. Anillin, an actin-binding protein required for cytokinesis, has recently been presented as part of a prognostic marker panel in breast cancer. The objective of this study was to further explore the prognostic and functional value of anillin as a single biomarker in breast cancer. They found that High nuclear fraction of anillin in breast tumor cells was significantly associated with large tumor size, high histological grade, high proliferation rate, hormone receptor negative tumors and poor prognosis in both examined cohorts.
Gabriela Gremel was involved in both of these studies:
– For the anillin study my role was to supervise all functional work. The cubilin study was derived from a larger project focused on the identification of cancer type-specific markers. I coordinated all parties involved in the project (Scientific officers, PhD student, pathologists, etc), performed the target search and analysed the data.
Gabriela Gremel got her PhD from University College Dublin.
– My thesis project was primarily focused on the functional and prognostic relevance of the homeobox protein MSX2 and the miRNA miR-126 in melanoma. I moved on to work for a small start-up company in Dublin called OncoMark and was seconded from there to join the Human Protein Atlas Uppsala site as part of a collaborative Marie Curie grant.
The team in Uppsala has generated a multi-cancer tissue microarray cohort that was used during the identification of cubulin as differential-diagnostic marker. These tissue microarrays are currently being used to identify additional diagnostic marker and maker panels in various cancer types.
However, Gabriela Gremel is not taking part in these studies, since she has left Sweden to move to the UK.
– But I would like to thank everyone involved in the Human Protein Atlas project, particularly Fredrik PontÚn, for giving me the opportunity to be part of this amazing endeavor!
Explore the cancer proteome here >>
Read the breast cancer study here >>
Read the renal cell carcinoma study here >>
Frida Henningson Johnson