Cancer remains one of the biggest health issues worldwide with millions of people dying every year. To improve treatment and outcome, we need diagnostic markers that correlate with disease stage. To facilitate prompt diagnosis, the EU-funded PROTBIOFLUID (Proteomic identification of biomarkers in biofluids and in preclinical models for the early diagnosis and prognosis of cancer (PROT*BIO*FLUID)) project set out to identify biomarkers in the biological fluids of patients that could relate to disease stage. Additional effort went towards the identification of molecular markers and therapeutic targets of metastasis. Scientists followed different strategies and established new methods for the proteomic analysis of biological fluids as a diagnostic tool. Both diagnostic and prognostic markers were identified for endometrial, ovarian and prostate cancers. Researchers characterised the molecular events that accompany myometrial infiltration in vitro and in vivo. Key to this process was the ETV5 transcription factor, a gene upregulated in invasive endothelial cells. Special attention was given to E-cadherin since it participates in the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), the process that triggers tumour invasion in many types of cancer. E-cadherin alongside other molecules served for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer. In terms of treatment, the consortium developed prostate and endometrial cancer animal models for studying tumour progression and screening the efficiency of various drugs. In addition, these pre-clinical tools could be used to validate future therapeutic targets. Collectively, the PROTBIOFLUID project established a network that will continue to collaborate on innovative diagnostics. The generated biomarkers and tools are expected to contribute towards prompt cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Biomarkers, cancer, diagnosis, ETV5, E-cadherin, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition