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Provista Blog > What Are Serum Protein Biomarkers & Tumor-Associated Autoantibodies?

Provista Blog

What Are Serum Protein Biomarkers & Tumor-Associated Autoantibodies?

Posted by Provista Diagnostics on April 14, 2017

The ability to detect early warning signals of cancer in the bloodstream, called "biomarkers," poses significant promise for the early detection of breast cancer. Theoretically, very small tumors can be detected long before they are visible on imaging, which typically requires a tumor to be greater than 5mm in size to definitively identify the tumor.


Role of biomarkers in breast cancer:

Cancer biomarkers are associated with multiple stages during disease progression and therefore, may play a significant role in clinical decision making across the continuum of care. Diagnostic tests can analyze biomarkers to provide information about early tumor development. 

To truly identify the presence or absence of cancer, we need to understand the signal each biomarker sends. Combined with multiple biomarkers, can we then interpret coherent messages from those biomarkers? Simply put: biomarkers are similar to letters in the alphabet. We need to assess all the letters present then unscramble the message for a clear signal as to the presence or absence of cancer. 

 To improve patient outcomes and detect breast cancer as early as possible we must use ProteoMark Technology, which allows us to detect reliable protein signatures in the blood. This technology analyses two types of biomarkers: Serum Protein Biomarkers (SPBs) and Tumor-Associated Autoantibodies (TAAbs).

Tumor-Associated Autoantibodies:

The body’s immune response releases Tumor-Associated Autoantibodies into the bloodstream in response to the presence of tumor proteins, but not normal proteins. They are highly stable, highly specific and easily detected in serum. TAAbs provide specificity for breast cancer.

Serum Protein Biomarkers:

Serum Protein Biomarkers are produced either by the host, surrounding environment or tumor including proteins (involved in but not limited to) inflammation, angiogenesis and cell growth. In the presence of cancer, these processes can aid in tumor development and/or progression. SPBs are highly sensitive but lack the specificity of TAAbs.


Why Proteins?

Proteins are essential for cellular function making them more complex, diverse, dynamic and reflective of cellular physiology than genes. For this reason, protein biomarkers have emerged as a powerful technology to decipher biological processes and pathophysiology of cancer.


PROTEIN BIOMARKER SIGNATURES: Tumor-Associated Autoantibodies + Serum Protein Biomarkers = IMPROVED DETECTION 


To streamline clinical decision making, a novel molecular approach is needed as a complement to current imaging techniques and to allow for precise cancer detection. Understanding the functionality of each biomarker and its relationship to other biomarkers helps provide clarity and identify the need for comprehensive protein signatures that streamline detection. The combination of Tumor-Associated Autoantibodies and Serum Protein Biomarkers in ProteoMark Technology allows us to rule out breast cancer in patients irrespective of anatomy and family history. It has been conclusively demonstrated that by including both SPBs and TAAbs within the same signature, we are able to capture cancer signals from eight of the ten “Hallmarks of Cancer”. This all-inclusive approach when combined with imaging, is the key to early and precise breast cancer detection.





Provista Diagnostics

Provista Diagnostics

At Provista Diagnostics, our mission is to develop world-class diagnostic tests for indications in breast and gynecologic cancers. As a leading diagnostics company, our aim is to create, produce and market innovative solutions for unmet clinical needs. Our products and services help to diagnose diseases and inform better clinical decisions, thus enhancing women’s health and quality of life. We do this in a responsible and ethical manner with a commitment to excellence in every aspect of our business.