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Proteomic-based discovery and characterization of glycosylated eosinophil-derived neurotoxin and COOH-terminal osteopontin fragments for ovarian cancer in urine.

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Clin. Cancer Res.. 2006 Jan 12 (2).

The objective was to identify and characterize low molecular weight proteins/peptides in urine and their posttranslational modifications that might be used as a screening tool for ovarian cancer.

Urine samples collected preoperatively from postmenopausal women with ovarian cancer and benign conditions and from nonsurgical controls were analyzed by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Selected proteins from mass profiles were purified by chromatography and followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry sequence analysis. Specific antibodies were generated for further characterization, including immunoprecipitation and glycosylation. Quantitative and semiquantitative ELISAs were developed for preliminary validation in patients of 128 ovarian cancer, 52 benign conditions, 44 other cancers, and 188 healthy controls.

A protein (m/z approximately 17,400) with higher peak intensities in cancer patients than in benign conditions and controls was identified and subsequently defined as eosinophil-derived neurotoxin (EDN). A glycosylated form of EDN was specifically elevated in ovarian cancer patients. A cluster of COOH-terminal osteopontin was identified from two-dimensional gels of urine from cancer patients. Modified forms EDN and osteopontin fragments were elevated in early-stage ovarian cancers and a combination of both resulted to 93% specificity and 72% sensitivity.

Specific elevated posttranslationally modified urinary EDN and osteopontin COOH-terminal fragments in ovarian cancer might lead to potential noninvasive screening tests for early diagnosis. Urine with less complexity than serum and relatively high thermodynamic stability of peptides or metabolites is a promising study medium for discovery of the novel biomarkers which may present in many non-urinary tract neoplastic diseases.

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