Background: The currently available biological markers are limited in sensitivity and specificity for screening of excessive alcohol drinkers. We recently purified and identified 3 potential markers for alcoholism (5.9 and 7.8 kDa peptides and 28 kDa protein) by using surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization (SELDI-TOF MS) technology. In the present study, we determined the diagnostic values of these novel markers in screening habitual drinkers with moderate alcohol consumption (hereafter habitual drinkers) in the general population as compared with 2 conventional markers: γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT).
Methods: Serum samples obtained from a total of 128 Japanese who sought regular medical checkup were analyzed by SELDI-TOF MS.
Results: The relative intensities of the 5.9 and the 28 kDa peak of habitual drinkers were significantly different from those in nondrinkers even in GGT nonresponders. The sensitivity and specificity were the highest in 5.9 kDa. When 5.9, 28 kDa, and GGT were combined, 96.8% of the habitual drinkers were successfully screened with a specificity of 60.9%.
Conclusion: The results of this study clearly indicate that the 5.9 kDa peak is a promising novel biological marker for moderate alcohol consumption.