• Biomarkers of apoptosis.

      Ward, Timothy H; Cummings, Jeffrey; Dean, Emma J; Greystoke, Alastair; Hou, Jian-Mei; Backen, Alison C; Ranson, Malcolm R; Dive, Caroline; Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology Group, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. (2008-08-26)
      Within the era of molecularly targeted anticancer agents, it has become increasingly important to provide proof of mechanism as early on as possible in the drug development cycle, especially in the clinic. Selective activation of apoptosis is often cited as one of the major goals of cancer chemotherapy. Thus, the present minireview focuses on a discussion of the pros and cons of a variety of methodological approaches to detect different components of the apoptotic cascade as potential biomarkers of programmed cell death. The bulk of the discussion centres on serological assays utilising the technique of ELISA, since here there is an obvious advantage of sampling multiple time points. Potential biomarkers of apoptosis including circulating tumour cells, cytokeratins and DNA nucleosomes are discussed at length. However, accepting that a single biomarker may not have the power to predict proof of concept and patient outcome, it is clear that in the future more emphasis will be placed on technologies that can analyse panels of biomarkers in small volumes of samples. To this end the increased throughput afforded by multiplex ELISA technologies is discussed.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 26 August 2008; doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6604519 www.bjcancer.com.
    • Identification of early predictive imaging biomarkers and their relationship to serological angiogenic markers in patients with ovarian cancer with residual disease following cytotoxic therapy.

      Mitchell, Claire L; O'Connor, James P B; Jackson, A; Parker, G J M; Roberts, C; Watson, Y; Cheung, S; Davies, K; Buonaccorsi, G A; Clamp, Andrew R; et al. (2010-03-29)
      BACKGROUND: Patients with recurrent ovarian cancer often achieve partial response following chemotherapy, resulting in persistent small volume disease. After completion of treatment, the dilemma of when to initiate subsequent chemotherapy arises. Identification of biomarkers that could be used to predict when subsequent treatment is needed would be of significant benefit. Design: Twenty-three patients with advanced ovarian cancer and residual asymptomatic disease following chemotherapy underwent dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) at study entry, 4, 8, 12, 18 and 26 weeks or disease progression. A subgroup of patients provided plasma samples within which a panel of angiogenic biomarkers was quantified. RESULTS: By 4 weeks, significant differences in whole tumour volume, enhancing fraction and Ca125 were observed between patients whose disease progressed by 26 weeks and those who remained stable. Significant correlations between plasma soluble vascular endothelial growth factor recptor-1 (sVEGFR-1) and sVEGFR-2 concentrations, and blood volume and tumour endothelial permeability surface area product measured by DCE-MRI were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Imaging markers have a potential role in early prediction of disease progression in patients with residual ovarian cancer and may supplement current measures of progression. The correlation of DCE-MRI and serological biomarkers suggests that tumour angiogenesis affects these markers through common biological means and warrants further investigation.
    • Optimisation of circulating biomarkers of cell death for routine clinical use.

      Greystoke, Alastair; Cummings, Jeffrey; Ward, Timothy H; Simpson, Kathryn L; Renehan, Andrew G; Butt, Fouziah; Moore, David; Gietema, J; Blackhall, Fiona H; Ranson, Malcolm R; et al. (2008-05)
      BACKGROUND: M30 and M65 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays detect circulating cytokeratin 18 fragments released during caspase-dependent or total cell death, respectively, and have potential as biomarkers in epithelial cancers. While these assays have been validated, their robustness for routine clinical use is unknown. PATIENTS AND METHODS: M30 and M65 were measured in matched serum and plasma samples from 31 lung cancer patients and 18 controls. RESULTS: Time allowable between sample acquisition and processing is critical for assays in clinical use. A 4-h delay in processing at room temperature increased M30 (P < 0.0001), an effect minimised by incubation on ice. M30 and M65 in serum were resistant to processing variations including delays. Serum and plasma measurements correlated well although M30 but not M65 was lower in serum (P < 0.0005). Less variation between duplicate assays was observed in serum. Prolonged storage (-80 degrees C) led to increased M30 (12%, 6 months; 34%, 1 year). Sample dilution in the supplied assay diluent proved non-linear, whereas dilution in donor serum or porcine plasma restored linearity up to a ratio of 1 : 6. CONCLUSION: We present recommendations that improve the reliability of these assays for clinical use and recommend serum as the preferred matrix with data more resistant to variations in collection.