Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery,
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With advances in genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, blooming data have been available for exploring molecular alternations in cancers. Many of these molecular alternations have been investigated as biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and precision therapies. It is my privilege to introduce this Special Issue of the Journal of Cancer Metastasis and Treatment, which contains four review articles and four original articles that focus on the topic of biomarker discoveries for cancer diagnosis and precision therapy.
Solid tumors are known to shed their cellular components (proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, glycosaminoglycans, and metabolites) or malignant cells themselves into peripheral blood. Some of these molecules are already used as biomarkers for cancer screenings and follow up tests in clinics[1,2]. The advent of new technologies in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and cell biology analyses has dramatically expanded the scope of circulating tumor biomarkers from traditional tumor-associated antigens to circulating tumor cells, circulating tumor nucleic acids (cell free DNA and miRNA), exosomes, and plasma proteomics. The tests on circulating tumor cells or tumor-specific nucleic acid in blood are also referred to as liquid biopsies. Three review articles in this Special Issue describe recent advances and challenges in liquid biopsy. Lai et al. reviewed the use of membrane lipid-binding ligands in isolating subtypes of exosomes or extracellular vesicles for improvement of discovery and detection of disease-associated biomarkers in peripheral blood. Huang et al. discussed advances in developing new devices, such as microfluidics and nanotechnology, for capturing and molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells. Bookland and Kolmakova reviewed current advances in searching for circulating biomarkers for pediatric brain tumors, including cell-free DNA, non-coding RNA, tumor metabolites, and proteins in body fluids, such as cerebrospinal fluid, blood, and urine. On the other hand, the review article by Farlow et al. discussed applications of biomarkers in design of clinical trials. These reviews and discussions on advances and challenges in biomarker discoveries stimulate new thinking on addressing the challenges encountered in the field of cancer biomarker discoveries and precision therapies.
The authors of four original articles reported results of their research projects on the discovery of new cancer biomarkers. Vander Borght et al. described the generation and evaluation of monoclonal antibodies specific for exon 18 neural cell adhesion molecule for detecting small cell lung cancer cells. Ossoliński et al. reported their study on mass spectrometry-based metabolomics profiling of prostate cancer. They found over two hundred differentiating metabolites in urine, serum, and interstitial fluid of prostate cancer patients. The study presented by Zaichick et al. showed that contents of several chemical elements were drastically different between thyroid malignant tumors and normal thyroid tissues. Finally, Liu et al. reported the results of using visible resonance Raman spectroscopy for rapid skin cancer diagnosis.
I hope you enjoy reading the articles in this Special Issue on biomarker discoveries. I also want to thank Dina Li for her assistance in organizing this Special Issue.
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© The Author(s) 2020.
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4. Lai RC, Tan KH, Lim SK. Membrane lipid binding molecules for the isolation of bona fide extracellular vesicle types and associated biomarkers in liquid biopsy. J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2019;5:65.DOI
5. Huang QQ, Chen XX, Jiang W, Jin SL, Wang XY, et al. Sensitive and specific detection of circulating tumor cells promotes precision medicine for cancer. J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2019;5:34.DOI
6. Bookland MJ, Kolmakova A. Peripheral biomarkers for pediatric brain tumors: current advancements and future challenges. J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2019;5:33.DOI
7. Farlow JL, Birkeland AC, Swiecicki PL, Brenner JC, Spector ME. Window of opportunity trials in head and neck cancer. J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2019;5:18.DOIPubMedPMC
8. Vander Borght A, Duysinx M, Ummelen M, van der Zeijst BAM. Monoclonal antibodies to the exon 18 encoded moiety of NCAM. J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2019;5:57.DOI
9. Ossoliński K, Nizioł J, Arendowski A, Ossolińska A, Ossoliński T, et al. Mass spectrometry-based metabolomic profiling of prostate cancer - a pilot study. J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2019;5:1.DOI
10. Zaichick V, Zaichick S. Levels of chemical element contents in thyroid as potential biomarkers for cancer diagnosis (a preliminary study). J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2018;4:60.DOI
11. Liu CH, Wu B, Sordillo LA, Boydston-White S, Sriramoju V, et al. A pilot study for distinguishing basal cell carcinoma from normal human skin tissues using visible resonance Raman spectroscopy. J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2019;5:4.DOI