Identification of candidate biomarkers in ovarian cancer serum by depletion of highly abundant proteins and differential in-gel electrophoresis

John D. Andersen, Kristin L Boylan, Feifei S. Xue, Lorraine B. Anderson, Bruce A Witthuhn, Todd W. Markowski, LeeAnn Higgins, Amy P Skubitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations


Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death for women in the US, yet survival rates are over 90% when it is diagnosed at an early stage, highlighting the need for biomarkers for early detection. To enhance the discovery of tumor-specific proteins that could represent novel serum biomarkers for ovarian cancer, we depleted serum of highly abundant proteins which can mask the detection of proteins present in serum at low concentrations. Three commercial immunoaffinity columns were used in parallel to deplete the highly abundant proteins in serum from 60 patients with serous ovarian carcinoma and 60 non-cancer controls. Medium and low abundance serum proteins from each serum pool were then evaluated by the quantitative proteomic technique of differential in-gel electrophoresis. The number of protein spots that were elevated in ovarian cancer sera by at least twofold ranged from 36 to 248, depending upon the depletion and separation methods. From the 33 spots picked for MS analysis, nine different proteins were identified, including the novel candidate ovarian cancer biomarkers leucine-rich α2 glycoprotein-1 and ficolin 3. Western blotting validated the relative increases in serum protein levels for three of the proteins identified, demonstrating the utility of this approach for the identification of novel serum biomarkers for ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-610
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010



  • Biomarker
  • Differential in-gel electrophoresis
  • Immunodepletion
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Proteomics

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