Label-free mass spectrometry-based proteomics for biomarker discovery and validation

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For most diseases, better biomarkers are urgently needed to enable (early) detection, diagnosis, prognosis, stratification for therapy and response monitoring. Proteomics delineates gene products that carry out the majority of cellular functions, and thereby may not only yield insight into altered signaling pathways in disease, but also yield novel biomarkers. In recent years, great progress has been made in mass spectrometry-based analysis of clinical tissues and biofluids, with identification and quantification of thousands of proteins now becoming increasingly routine. However, biomarker validation and clinical translation has turned out to be challenging. In this review, we summarize current mass spectrometry-based proteomics strategies for biomarker discovery and verification using selected reaction monitoring, with a focus on progress and recent applications in clinical material using label-free approaches.

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