Similarly, some sections of chromosomes that were "amplified" in the tumor samples did not result in amplified or increased protein levels.
Those that did, however, produced "striking effects," suggesting that proteomics might help identify and prioritize the most "impactful" genetic abnormalities that could be targets for new diagnostic tests or drug treatments, Liebler said.
The researchers also identified five subtypes of colon cancer based on their protein content, one of which was associated with poor outcomes. Proteomics thus may help identify patients who would benefit most from chemotherapy after surgery.
"Our discovery of proteomic subtypes opens the door to protein-based diagnostics that could potentially identify the bad cancers that need the aggressive therapy," Liebler said. "That's what we're really hot on going forward."
Liebler said that the support of the Ayers Institute, established in 2005 with a $10 million gift from Jim Ayers, chairman of FirstBank in Lexington, Tenn., and his wife Janet Ayers, was critical for building the infrastructure for conducting the research.
"Without the Ayers Institute, we wouldn't have been in a position to even apply for the CPTAC program, to be a part of this at all," Liebler said.
"This is exciting news that appears to have tremendous implications for cancer diagnosis and treatment," said Janet Ayers. "Jim and I extend our congratulations to Dr. Liebler and the team working with the Jim Ayers Institute for Precancer Detection and Diagnosis at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
"These are the kinds of discoveries we hoped for when the institute was launched just a few years ago," she said. "To start seeing results like this so quickly is extremely rewarding."
|Contact: Craig Boerner|
Vanderbilt University Medical Center