Identification of novel candidate circulating biomarkers for malignant soft tissue sarcomas: Correlation with metastatic progression

Amalia Conti, Claudia Fredolini, Davide Tamburro, Giovanna Magagnoli, Weidong Zhou, Lance A. Liotta, Piero Picci, Alessandra Luchini, Maria Serena Benassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) are a heterogeneous group of rare tumors for which identification and validation of biological markers may improve clinical management. The fraction of low-molecular-weight (LMW) circulating proteins and fragments of proteins is a rich source of new potential biomarkers. To identify circulating biomarkers useful for STS early diagnosis and prognosis, we analyzed 53 high-grade STS sera using hydrogel core-shell nanoparticles that selectively entrap LMW proteins by size exclusion and affinity chromatography, protect them from degradation and amplify their concentration for mass spectrometry detection. Twenty-two analytes mostly involved in inflammatory and immunological response, showed a progressive increase from benign to malignant STS with a relative difference in abundance, more than 50% when compared to healthy control. 16 of these were higher in metastatic compared to non-metastatic tumors. Cox's regression analysis revealed a statistical significant association between the abundance of lactotransferrin (LTF) and complement factor H-related 5 (CFHR5) and risk of metastasis. In particular, CFHR5 was associated with the risk of metastasis. The role of circulating proteins involved in metastatic progression will be crucial for a better understanding of STS biology and patient management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-697
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Biomedicine
  • Metastasis
  • Nanoparticles
  • Serum biomarkers
  • Soft tissue sarcomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry


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