J Cancer 2021; 12(6):1651-1659. doi:10.7150/jca.50733

Research Paper

Identifying Potential Markers for Monitoring Progression to Ovarian Cancer Using Plasma Label-free Proteomics

Wenjie Wang1*, Hongyu Xie2*, Bairong Xia2, Liuchao Zhang1, Yan Hou1✉, Kang Li1✉

1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150086, China.
2. Department of Gynecology Oncology, Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital, Harbin 150000, China.
* Wenjie Wang and Hongyu Xie contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
Wang W, Xie H, Xia B, Zhang L, Hou Y, Li K. Identifying Potential Markers for Monitoring Progression to Ovarian Cancer Using Plasma Label-free Proteomics. J Cancer 2021; 12(6):1651-1659. doi:10.7150/jca.50733. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v12p1651.htm

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Background: Cancer antigen 125 (CA125) is considered to have high sensitivity but poor specificity for ovarian cancer. New biomarkers utilized to early detect and monitor the progression of ovarian cancer patients are critically needed.

Methods: A total of 80 patients including 16 early stage, and matched with 17 late stage, 23 benign ovarian tumor (BOT) and 24 uterine fibroid (UF) patients were utilized to perform plasma proteomics analysis using isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) method to identify differential diagnostic proteins of ovarian cancer patients. A validation set of 9 early stage, 11 late stage, 17 BOT and 16 UF collected by an independent cohort of samples with the same matching principles was examined to confirm the expressed levels of differential expression proteins by ELISA analysis.

Results: CRP and ARHGEF 11 were identified as potential diagnostic biomarkers of ovarian cancer. Results of area under the curve (AUC) analysis suggested that combination of diagnostic proteins and CA125 achieved a much higher diagnostic accuracy compared with CA125 alone (AUC values: 0.98 versus 0.80), especially improved the specificity (0.97 versus 0.77). In addition, elevated plasma CRP levels were associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Conclusions: Current study found that plasma protein CRP was an indicator for monitoring the progression of ovarian cancer. Combination of plasma protein biomarkers with CA125 could be utilized to early diagnose of ovarian cancer patients.

Keywords: ovarian cancer, proteomics, diagnosis, progression, CRP