Identification of plasma biomarker candidates in glioblastoma using an antibody-array-based proteomic approach
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a brain tumour with a very high patient mortality rate, with a median survival of 47 weeks. This might be improved by the identification of novel diagnostic, prognostic and predictive therapy-response biomarkers, preferentially through the monitoring of the patient blood. The aim of this study was to define the impact of GBM in terms of alterations of the plasma protein levels in these patients. We used a commercially available antibody array that includes 656 antibodies to analyse blood plasma samples from 17 healthy volunteers in comparison with 17 blood plasma samples from patients with GBM. We identified 11 plasma proteins that are statistically most strongly associated with the presence of GBM. These proteins belong to three functional signalling pathways: T-cell signalling and immune responses; cell adhesion and migration; and cell-cycle control and apoptosis. Thus, we can consider this identified set of proteins as potential diagnostic biomarker candidates for GBM. In addition, a set of 16 plasma proteins were significantly associated with the overall survival of these patients with GBM. Guanine nucleotide binding protein alpha (GNAO1) was associated with both GBM presence and survival of patients with GBM. We conclude that antibody array analysis represents a useful tool for the screening of plasma samples for potential cancer biomarker candidates in small-scale exploratory experiments; however, clinical validation of these candidates requires their further evaluation in a larger study on an independent cohort of patients.