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Quantitative proteomic analysis of serum proteins from oral cancer patients: comparison of two analytical methods.


Serum proteomic analysis can be a valuable approach for the discovery of protein biomarkers for early detection or monitoring of a disease. In this study, two analytical methods were compared for quantification of serum proteins in patients with oral cancer. In the first approach, we quantified serum proteins between oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and healthy control subjects by performing in-solution digestion of serum proteins, isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) labeling of the resulting peptides, strong cation exchange (SCX) fractionation of labeled peptides and finally capillary liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis of the peptides. In the second approach, we first separated serum proteins with SDS-PAGE. The gel-separated proteins were then digested with trypsin and the resulting peptides were labeled with iTRAQ and analyzed with LC-MS/MS for protein quantification. A total of 319 serum proteins were quantified with the first proteomic approach whereas a total of 281 proteins were quantified by the second proteomic approach. Most of the proteins were identified and quantified by both approaches, suggesting that these methods are similarly effective for serum proteome analysis. This study provides compelling evidence that quantitative serum proteomic analysis of OSCC is a valuable approach for identifying differentially expressed proteins in cancer patients' circulation systems that may be used as potential biomarkers for disease detection. Further validation in large oral cancer patient populations may lead to a simple and low invasive clinical tool for OSCC diagnosis or monitoring.

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