• Biomarker method validation in anticancer drug development.

      Cummings, Jeffrey; Ward, Timothy H; Greystoke, Alastair; Ranson, Malcolm R; Dive, Caroline; Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. jcummings@picr.man.ac.uk (2008-02)
      Over recent years the role of biomarkers in anticancer drug development has expanded across a spectrum of applications ranging from research tool during early discovery to surrogate endpoint in the clinic. However, in Europe when biomarker measurements are performed on samples collected from subjects entered into clinical trials of new investigational agents, laboratories conducting these analyses become subject to the Clinical Trials Regulations. While these regulations are not specific in their requirements of research laboratories, quality assurance and in particular assay validation are essential. This review, therefore, focuses on a discussion of current thinking in biomarker assay validation. Five categories define the majority of biomarker assays from 'absolute quantitation' to 'categorical'. Validation must therefore take account of both the position of the biomarker in the spectrum towards clinical end point and the level of quantitation inherent in the methodology. Biomarker assay validation should be performed ideally in stages on 'a fit for purpose' basis avoiding unnecessarily dogmatic adherence to rigid guidelines but with careful monitoring of progress at the end of each stage. These principles are illustrated with two specific examples: (a) absolute quantitation of protein biomarkers by mass spectrometry and (b) the M30 and M65 ELISA assays as surrogate end points of cell death.
    • Evaluation of circulating tumor cells and serological cell death biomarkers in small cell lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

      Hou, Jian-Mei; Greystoke, Alastair; Lancashire, Lee J; Cummings, Jeffrey; Ward, Timothy H; Board, Ruth E; Amir, Eitan; Hughes, Sarah; Krebs, Matthew G; Hughes, Andrew; et al. (2009-08)
      Serological cell death biomarkers and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have potential uses as tools for pharmacodynamic blood-based assays and their subsequent application to early clinical trials. In this study, we evaluated both the expression and clinical significance of CTCs and serological cell death biomarkers in patients with small cell lung cancer. Blood samples from 88 patients were assayed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for various cytokeratin 18 products (eg, M65, cell death, M30, and apoptosis) as well as nucleosomal DNA. CTCs (per 7.5 ml of blood) were quantified using Veridex CellSearch technology. Before therapeutic treatment, cell death biomarkers were elevated in patients compared with controls. CTCs were detected in 86% of patients; additionally, CD56 was detectable in CTCs, confirming their neoplastic origin. M30 levels correlated with the percentage of apoptotic CTCs. M30, M65, lactate dehydrogenase, and CTC number were prognostic for patient survival as determined by univariate analysis. Using multivariate analysis, both lactate dehydrogenase and M65 levels remained significant. CTC number fell following chemotherapy, whereas levels of serological cell death biomarkers peaked at 48 hours and fell by day 22, mirroring the tumor response. A 48-hour rise in nucleosomal DNA and M30 levels was associated with early response and severe toxicity, respectively. Our results provide a rationale to include the use of serological biomarkers and CTCs in early clinical trials of new agents for small cell lung cancer.
    • 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.