Progress in the identification of plasma biomarkers of colorectal cancer


Correspondence: Professor Graeme I. Murray, Pathology, Division of Applied Medicine, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom


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Proteomic analysis of human tissue and plasma samples has been a useful tool in recent years for the identification of potential biomarkers to aid in the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer. However, biomarkers relating to the crucial transition between adenomatous lesions and invasive colorectal malignancy have not previously been described. The work of Choi et al. (Proteomics 2013, 13, 2361–2374) attempts to address this issue. Using plasma samples from age-matched patients with colorectal adenomas or invasive disease this group identified a range of plasma proteins and cytokines that were differentially expressed. This information not only provides insights into the biology of the adenoma to carcinoma progression sequence but it also represents a step towards the goal of achieving diagnostically accurate and clinically acceptable biomarkers in early colorectal cancer.