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Keywords:

  • gastric cancer;
  • fibrinopeptide A;
  • lymph node metastasis;
  • MALDI-TOF-MS;
  • magnetic beads

Gastric cancer is one of the leading causes of tumor-related deaths in China. The tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) classification system is useful for predicting clinical prognosis of patients with gastric cancer. However, determining the presence of lymph node involvement in the early stages of gastric cancer is difficult without biopsy. Therefore, it is necessary to identify novel serum biomarkers for TNM cancer staging and prognostic follow-up. In this study, we have reported fibrinopeptide-A (FPA) with alanine truncation at the N-terminal as a novel biomarker to differentiate gastric cancer with and without lymph node metastases. We analyzed 369 individual serum samples including gastric cancer patients without lymph node metastases (n = 33), gastric cancer patients with lymph node metastases (n = 157; confirmed by pathology), and age- and sex-matched healthy individuals (n = 179). The data showed that 85.4% of patients with lymph node metastases were positive for FPA with alanine truncation at the N-terminal (degAla-FPA, 1,465.63 Da), as determined by tandem mass spectrometry (MS). Using degAla-FPA as the biomarker, the sensitivity was 85.4% for gastric cancer patients with lymph node metastases, and the specificity was 100% for gastric cancer patients without lymph node metastases. The high sensitivity and specificity achieved with serum degAla-FPA levels indicated that MS technology could facilitate the discovery of a novel and quantitative prognostic biomarker for gastric cancer with lymph node involvement. Anat Rec, 296:590–594, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.