Identification of proteins secreted by head and neck cancer cell lines using LC-MS/MS: Strategy for discovery of candidate serological biomarkers

Ranju Ralhan, Olena Masui, Leroi V. Desouza, Ajay Matta, Muzafar Macha, K. W.Michael Siu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


In search of blood-based biomarkers that would enhance the ability to diagnose head and neck/oral squamous cell carcinoma (HNOSCC) in early stages or predict its prognosis, we analyzed the HNOSCC secretome (ensemble of proteins secreted and/or shed from the tumor cells) for potential biomarkers using proteomic technologies. LC-MS/MS was used to identify proteins in the conditioned media of four HNOSCC cell lines (SCC4, HSC2, SCC38, and AMOSIII); 140 unique proteins were identified on the basis of 5% global false discovery rate, 122 of which were secretory proteins, with 29 being previously reported to be overexpressed in HNOSCC in comparison to normal head and neck tissues. Of these, five proteins including α-enolase, peptidyl prolyl isomerase A/cyclophilin A, 14-3-3 ζ, heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein K, and 14-3-3 σ were detected in the sera of HNOSCC patients by Western blot analysis. Our study provides the evidence that analysis of head and neck cancer cells' secretome is a viable strategy for identifying candidate serological biomarkers for HNOSCC. In future, these biomarkers may be useful in predicting the likelihood of transformation of oral pre-malignant lesions, prognosis of HNOSCC patients and evaluate response to therapy using minimally invasive tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2363-2376
Number of pages14
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2011



  • 1-D LC-MS/MS
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell biology
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Secretome
  • Secretory proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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