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Entering a New Era of Rational Biomarker Discovery for Early Detection of Melanoma Metastases: Secretome Analysis of Associated Stroma Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2009, 00:00 by Verena Paulitschke, Rainer Kunstfeld, Thomas Mohr, Astrid Slany, Michael Micksche, Johannes Drach, Christoph Zielinski, Hubert Pehamberger, Christopher Gerner
Metastasis in melanoma is associated with poor prognosis. Early detection may thus substantially improve patient survival. Here we present a novel biomarker discovery strategy based on proteome profiling and secretome analysis of primary cells. Tumor associated stroma cells secrete proteins that may act as powerful tumor promoters. This cell cooperativity is reversible and may thus be directly accessible to therapeutic intervention. The onset of these characteristic events seems to precede tumor progression. Thus, proteins specifically secreted by these cells may serve as early disease biomarkers. Due to the leaky nature of newly formed blood vessels and the increased hydrostatic pressure within tumors, secreted proteins are most plausibly shed into the blood. Our analysis strategy is based on three different model systems, including established cultured cell lines, animal model systems, and clinical human samples. The feasibility is demonstrated with secretome and proteome profiles generated from normal human skin fibroblasts in comparison to melanoma-associated fibroblasts isolated from mouse xenografts and fibroblasts from bone marrow of multiple myeloma patients. Further mutual comparisons were enabled including proteome profiles of melanocytes and M24met melanoma cells. All shotgun proteomics data are accessible via the PRIDE database. Among others, the candidate biomarkers GPX5, secreted by melanoma cells, in addition to periostin and stanniocalcin-1, which are expressed by melanoma-associated fibroblasts were identified. In conclusion, this is a novel strategy to identify diagnostic marker proteins aiding early detection of metastatic melanoma and to improve our understanding of pathomechanisms involving the microenvironment to enable the design of novel therapeutic strategies.