A proteomics approach to assess the response to drug treatment in brain tumours

Glioblastoma rapidly invade brain tissue. They are able to develop new blood vessels to ensure tumour cell proliferation. Due to this angiogenic trait, anti-angiogenic drugs were recently evaluated as promising novel anti-cancer agents. Treatment efficiency remains however poor in most patients. The aim of the study, a collaborative project between the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory and the Genomics and Proteomics Research Unit, was to identify marker proteins that are altered by bevacizumab treatment, a commonly used anti-angiogenic agent. Such biomarkers may serve as a short-term readout for success or failure of anti-angiogenic therapy and could thus guide therapeutic choices.

‘We used a targeted mass spectrometry-based proteomics approach named Selected Reaction Monitoring and developed a specific optimised workflow for complex biological samples: patient-derived glioblastoma developed in the rodent brain’, tells project leader Prof Simone Niclou, head of the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory. ‘The method allowed us to precisely quantify targeted protein candidates. Given the cellular complexity of brain tumour samples, it is remarkable that we could reliably identify even small protein concentration differences induced by bevacizumab treatment’, she explains furthers.

Thirty-two differentially expressed proteins were identified. ‘To our knowledge, this is the first targeted proteomics study in glioblastoma addressing the identification of protein markers in response to anti-angiogenic treatment’, states Prof Niclou. ‘We now have to further investigate the biomarker potential of selected candidates’, she concludes.

Link to publication: Targeted Proteomics to Assess the Response to Anti-Angiogenic Treatment in Human Glioblastoma