Breast tumor metastasis: analysis via proteomic profiling

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Abstract

The ability to predict the metastatic behavior of a patient's cancer, as well as to detect and eradicate such recurrences, remain major clinical challenges in oncology. While many potential molecular biomarkers have been identified and tested previously, none have greatly improved the accuracy of specimen evaluation over routine histopathological criteria and, to date, they predict individual outcomes poorly. The ongoing development of high-throughput proteomic profiling technologies is opening new avenues for the investigation of cancer and, through application in tissue-based studies and animal models, will facilitate the identification of molecular signatures that are associated with breast tumor cell phenotype. The appropriate use of these approaches has the potential to provide efficient biomarkers, and to improve our knowledge of tumor biology. This, in turn, will enable the development of targeted therapeutics aimed at ameliorating the lethal dissemination of breast cancer. In this review, we focus on the accumulating proteomic signatures of breast tumor progression, particularly those that correlate with the occurrence of distant metastases, and discuss some of the expected future developments in the field.

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