Secretome proteomic approaches for biomarker discovery: An update on colorectal cancer

Armando Cevenini, Stefania Orrù, Esther Imperlini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Searching for new cancer-related biomarkers is a key priority for the early detection of solid tumors, such as colorectal cancer (CRC), in clinically relevant biological fluids. The cell line and/or tumor tissue secretome represents a valuable resource for discovering novel protein markers secreted by cancer cells. The advantage of a secretome analysis is the reduction of the large dynamic range characterizing human plasma/serum, and the simultaneous enrichment of low abundance cancer-secreted proteins, thereby overcoming the technical limitations underlying the direct search in blood samples. In this review, we provided a comprehensive overview of recent studies on the CRC secretome for biomarker discovery, focusing both on methodological and technical aspects of secretome proteomic approaches and on biomarker-independent validation in CRC patient samples (blood and tissues). Secretome proteomics are mainly based on LC-MS/MS analyses for which secretome samples are either in-gel or in-solution trypsin-digested. Adequate numbers of biological and technical replicates are required to ensure high reproducibility and robustness of the secretome studies. Moreover, another major challenge is the accuracy of proteomic quantitative analysis performed by label-free or labeling methods. The analysis of differentially expressed proteins in the CRC secretome by using bioinformatic tools allowed the identification of potential biomarkers for early CRC detection. In this scenario, this review may help to follow-up the recent secretome studies in order to select promising circulating biomarkers to be validated in larger screenings, thereby contributing toward a complete translation in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number443
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Biomarker
  • Cancer cell lines
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Proteomics
  • Secretome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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