AAPS Journal, 2010
Current efforts to identify protein biomarkers of disease use mainly mass spectrometry (MS) to analyze tissue and blood specimens. The low-molecular-weight “peptidome” is an attractive information archive because of the facile nature by which the low-molecular-weight information freely crosses the endothelial cell barrier of the vasculature, which provides opportunity to measure disease microenvironment-associated protein analytes secreted or shed into the extracellular interstitium and from there into the circulation. However, identifying useful protein biomarkers (peptidomic or not) which could be useful to detect early detection/monitoring of disease, toxicity, doping, or drug abuse has been severely hampered because even the most sophisticated, high-resolution MS technologies have lower sensitivities than those of the immunoassays technologies now routinely used in clinical practice. Identification of novel low abundance biomarkers that are indicative of early-stage events that likely exist in the sub-nanogram per milliliter concentration range of known markers, such as prostate-specific antigen, cannot be readily detected by current MS technologies. We have developed a new nanoparticle technology that can, in one step, capture, concentrate, and separate the peptidome from high-abundance blood proteins. Herein, we describe an initial pilot study whereby the peptidome content of ovarian and prostate cancer patients is investigated with this method. Differentially abundant candidate peptidome biomarkers that appear to be specific for early-stage ovarian and prostate cancer have been identified and reveal the potential utility for this new methodology.