Verification of endometrial cancer biomarkers 

Collaborative project with Drs. Colas & Gil group from Vall dHebron Research Institute (VHIR) in Barcelona, Spain

Endometrial cancer (EC) is the fourth most common cancer in women in developed countries. Current diagnosis of EC relies on the pathological examination of cells present in a biopsy that is preferably obtained through the minimally invasive aspiration of endometrial fluid (uterine aspirate). However, two important clinical issues remain unmet in this process. Firstly, diagnosis based on uterine aspirate samples is associated with a 22% rate of diagnostic failure due to insufficient cells in the sample. Secondly, there is a 50% rate of incorrect identification of the histological type and grade of the tumor, which is crucial to define the extent of the surgical treatment required.

The aim of this project was to use the liquid fraction of patient-derived uterine aspirates to identify protein biomarkers, and therefore improve the diagnosis of EC.

We developed and implemented an innovative targeted proteomics assay (LC-PRM) to systematically quantify 52 potential protein biomarkers in the liquid fraction of 156 uterine aspirate samples. The results led to the development of a 2-protein panel able to correctly diagnose 100% of patients using this minimally invasive clinical sample; and a 3-protein panel able to improve the classification of the tumor type.

This is a perfect example of how targeted proteomics can achieve accurate quantification of 30-100 biomarker candidates from a large cohort of patients with high sensitivity, selectivity, and without missing values.


• Targeted proteomics identifies proteomic signatures in liquid-biopsies of the endometrium to diagnose endometrial cancer and assist in the prediction of the optimal surgical treatment. ClinicalCancer Research 2017 - PubMed
Martinez-Garcia, E.; Lesur, A.; Devis, L.; Cabrera, S.; Matias-Guiu, X.; Hirschfeld, M.; Asberger, J.; van Oostrum, J.; María de los Ángeles Casares de Cal, MA.; Gómez-Tato, A.; Reventos, J.; Domon, B.; Colas, E.; Gil-Moreno, A.

• Development of a sequential workflow based on LC-PRM for the verification of endometrial cancer protein biomarkers in uterine aspirate samples. Oncotarget 2016, 7, (33), 53102-53115 - PubMed
Martinez-Garcia, E.; Lesur, A.; Devis, L.; Campos, A.; Cabrera, S.; van Oostrum, J.; Matias-Guiu, X.; Gil-Moreno, A.; Reventos, J.; Colas, E.; Domon, B.