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Disease Markers
Volume 17 (2001), Issue 4, Pages 217-223

Proteomic-Based Approach for the Identification of Tumor Markers Associated with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Philip Shalhoub, Sarah Kern, Sophie Girard, and Laura Beretta

Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Cancer Center, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

Received 19 November 2001; Accepted 19 November 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is increasing evidence for an immune response to cancer in humans, demonstrated in part by the identification of autoantibodies to tumor antigens. The identification of panels of tumor antigens that elicit a humoral response may have utility in cancer screening, diagnosis or in establishing prognosis. Several approaches are currently available for the identification of tumor antigens. We have used a proteomic-based approach for the identification of tumor antigens that induce an antibody response which we have applied to hepatocellular carcinoma, a major type of cancer worldwide. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis allows simultaneous separation of several thousand individual proteins from tumor tissue or tumor cell lines. Proteins eliciting a humoral response in HCC were identified by 2-D Western blotting using sera from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, followed by mass spectrometry analysis and database search. The common occurrence of autoantibodies to specific proteins may have utility for HCC screening and diagnosis.