Profiling of cytokines, chemokines and other soluble proteins as a potential biomarker in colorectal cancer and polyps

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Soluble proteins including cytokines, chemokines and growth factors are small proteins that mediate and regulate immunity. They involved in the pathogenesis of many diseases including cancers. The concentration of these proteins in biological fluids (serum or plasma) and tissues in diseases may suggest pathway activation that leads to inflammatory response or disease progression. Therefore, these soluble proteins may be useful as a tool for screening, diagnosis classification between stages of disease or surveillance for therapy. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and bioassay have been used as a gold standard in cytokine level measurements in clinical practice. However, these methods allow only single cytokine detection at a time and ineffective for screening purposes. Hence, the innovation of multiplexing technology allows measurement of many these soluble proteins simultaneously, thus allowing rapid, cost effective and better efficiency by using a minute amount of sample. In this study, we explored the profiles of key inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and other soluble proteins from the serum derived from colorectal carcinoma (CRC, n = 20), colorectal polyps (P, n = 20) and healthy volunteers (N, n = 20) using multiplexed bead-based immunoassays. We aimed to evaluate if the levels of these soluble proteins can classify these groups of populations and explore the possible application of the soluble proteins as biomarkers in early stage screening and/or surveillance. We observed significant high IL-4, MIP-1β, FasL and TGF-β1 levels but lower levels for RANTES in P-derived serum as compared to N-derived serum. Significant high IL-8, VEGF, MIP-1β, Eotaxin and G-CSF observed in CRC-derived serum when compared to N-derived serum. Between CRC- and P-derived serum, significantly higher levels of IL-8, Eotaxin and G-CSF but lower levels for TGF-β1 were detected in CRC-derived serum. These preliminary results were obtained from small sample size and could be further validated with larger sample size cohort to produce a panel of biomarkers for CRC and P patients. Our findings might be useful in developing a disease-specific panel for biomarker screening assay. This could be used for early diagnosis and/or treatment surveillance.

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