Diverse proteomic alterations in gastric adenocarcinoma



Gastric adenocarcinoma is one of the most common cancers in Asian countries including China. Although its incidence rates in the West are lower than that in Asia, gastric cancer is still a major health problem worldwide, being second only to lung cancers in the number of deaths it causes. Helicobacter pylori infection has been identified as the major pathogen, but the detailed pathogenesis of gastric carcinoma remains elusive. Due to the lack of suitable and specific biomarkers for early detection, most cases of the disease are diagnosed at late stages and the survival rate is low. In this study, we used a proteomic approach to globally analyze the protein profiles of paired surgical specimens of primary gastric adenocarcinoma and nontumor mucosa aiming at identifying specific disease-associated proteins as potential clinical biomarkers and for carcinogenetic study. Compared to nontumor tissues, multiple protein alterations were found in tumor tissues. Some of these alterations involve variations in the expression of cytoskeleton proteins, including an increase in cytokeratin 8 and tropomyosin isoform and a decrease in cytokeratin 20. Co-up-regulations of heat-shock proteins and glycolytic enzymes were observed in tumor tissues, indicating self-protective efforts of cells and the growing energy requirement during malignant transformation. Diverse regulations also occurred with proteins involved in cell proliferation and differentiation, such as GMP reductase 2 and creatine kinase B, and proteins bearing potential tumor suppressor activities, including prohibitin and selenium binding protein 1. More interestingly, a human stomach-specific protein, 18 kDa antrum mucosa protein, was found to be dramatically under-expressed in cancer tissues, implicating a possible special pathological role for this protein in gastric carcinogenesis. Further comprehensive evaluation by globally considering the altered factors may result in the discovery of a biomarker index for effective assessment of the disease and may provide in-depth information for better understanding the pathogenesis of gastric cancer.