Emerging blood-based biomarkers for detection of gastric cancer

Author:  Zane Kalniņa et al - World J Gastroenterol 2015 November 7; 21(41): 11636-11653

Zane Kalniņa et al
World J Gastroenterol 2015 November 7; 21(41): 11636-11653


Early detection and efficient monitoring of tumor dynamics are prerequisites for reducing disease burden and mortality, and for improving the management of patients with gastric cancer (GC). Blood-based biomarker assays for the detection of early-stage GC could be of great relevance both for population-wide or risk group-based screening programs, while circulating biomarkers that reflect the genetic make-up and dynamics of the tumor would allow monitoring of treatment efficacy, predict recurrences and assess the genetic heterogeneity of the tumor. Recent research to identify blood-based biomarkers of GC has resulted in the identification of a wide variety of cancer-associated molecules, including various proteins, autoantibodies against tumor associated antigens, cell-free DNA fragments, mRNAs and various non-coding RNAs, circulating tumor cells and cancer-derived extracellular vesicles. Each type of these biomarkers provides different information on the disease status, has different advantages and disadvantages, and distinct clinical usefulness. In the current review, we summarize the recent developments in blood-based GC biomarker discovery, discuss the origin of various types of biomarkers and their clinical usefulness and the technological challenges in the development of biomarker assays for clinical use.  


Over the last decade, considerable effort has been dedicated to discovering various types of cancer associated molecules in the blood of GC patients.

Several of the identified biomarkers have remarkably high sensitivity and specificity that greatly outperform the previously-known GC serum biomarkers such PGs, CA 72-4, CA19-9 and CEA, and therefore have the potential to complement or replace the existing endoscopy, X-ray or biopsy-based examinations. Each type of biomarker has a different origin, provides various types of information and has their own strengths and weaknesses, thus suggesting different clinical applications.


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