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Proteomic profiling shown more accurate than traditional biomarkers in identifying liver cancer
Date:1/14/2008

BOSTON As the incidence of liver cancer continues to grow-- fueled in large part, by rising rates of hepatitis C infections so too does the need for tests to help diagnose the disease at an earlier stage. A study appearing in the January 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research demonstrates that a novel mass-spectrometry based form of proteomic profiling is more accurate than traditional biomarkers in distinguishing liver cancer patients from patients with hepatitis C liver cirrhosis, particularly with regard to identifying patients with small, curable tumors. Led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), the study could help lead to earlier diagnostic methods and subsequent treatments -- for liver cancer.

Proteomics represents a potentially powerful tool for the serologic recognition of protein profiles associated with cancer, explains co-senior author Towia Libermann, PhD, Director of the Genomics Center at BIDMC and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Although this particular proteomics technology, SELDI-TOF MS [surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry] had already proven capable of identifying liver cancer in some limited studies, this was the first time that the technology was compared side-by-side with the clinical standard biomarker in a cohort of patients at risk for developing the disease, adds Liebermann, who is also Director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Proteomics Core in the Division of Interdisciplinary Medicine and Biotechnology at BIDMC.

Over a single decade, the incidence of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) increased from 1.8 to 2.5 per 100,000 patients, in large part due to a rise in the spread of hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis C has become a tremendous public health problem, explains co-senior author Nezam Afdhal, MD, Director of the Liver Center at BIDMC and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medic
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Contact: Bonnie Prescott
bprescot@bidmc.harvard.edu
617-667-7306
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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