An Integrated Approach to Protein Discovery and Detection From Complex Biofluids

Gordon T. Luu, Chang Ge, Yisha Tang, Kailiang Li, Stephanie M. Cologna, Andrew K. Godwin, Joanna E. Burdette, Judith Su, Laura M. Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ovarian cancer, a leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women, has been notoriously difficult to screen for and diagnose early, as early detection significantly improves survival. Researchers and clinicians seek routinely usable and noninvasive screening methods; however, available methods (i.e., biomarker screening) lack desirable sensitivity/specificity. The most fatal form, highgrade serous ovarian cancer, often originate in the fallopian tube; therefore, sampling from the vaginal environment provides more proximal sources for tumor detection. To address these shortcomings and leverage proximal sampling, we developed an untargeted mass spectrometry microprotein profiling method and identified cystatin A, which was validated in an animal model. To overcome the limits of detection inherent to mass spectrometry, we demonstrated that cystatin A is present at 100 pM concentrations using a label-free microtoroid resonator and translated our workflow to patient-derived clinical samples, highlighting the potential utility of early stage detection where biomarker levels would be low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100590
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry


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