Protein arrays as tools for serum autoantibody marker discovery in cancer.
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Protein array technology has begun to play a significant role in the study of protein-protein interactions and in the identification of antigenic targets of serum autoantibodies in a variety of autoimmune disorders. More recently, this technology has been applied to the identification of autoantibody signatures in cancer. The identification of tumour-associated antigens (TAAs) recognised by the patient's immune response represents an exciting approach to identify novel diagnostic cancer biomarkers and may contribute towards a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved. Circulating autoantibodies have not only been used to identify TAAs as diagnostic/prognostic markers and potential therapeutic targets, they also represent excellent biomarkers for the early detection of tumours and potential markers for monitoring the efficacy of treatment. Protein array technology offers the ability to screen the humoral immune response in cancer against thousands of proteins in a high throughput technique, thus readily identifying new panels of TAAs. Such an approach should not only aid in improved diagnostics, but has already contributed to the identification of complex autoantibody signatures that may represent disease subgroups, early diagnostics and facilitated the analysis of vaccine trials.