Identification of diagnostic upper gastrointestinal cancer tissue type‑specific urinary biomarkers

Holger Husi*, Marco Fernandes, Richard J. Skipworth, Janice Miller, Andrew D. Cronshaw, Kenneth C.H. Fearon, James A. Ross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Several potential urinary biomarkers exhibiting an association with upper gastrointestinal tumour growth have been previously identified, of which S100A6, S100A9, rabenosyn‑5 and programmed cell death 6‑interacting protein (PDCD6IP) were further validated and found to be upregulated in malignant tumours. The cancer cohort from our previous study was subclassified to assess whether distinct molecular markers can be identified for each individual cancer type using a similar approach. Urine samples from patients with cancers of the stomach, oesophagus, oesophagogastric junction or pancreas were analysed by surface‑enhanced laser desorption/ionization‑time‑of‑flight mass spectrometry using both CM10 and IMAC30 (Cu2+‑complexed) chip types and LC‑MS/MS‑based mass spectrometry after chromatographic enrichment. This was followed by protein identification, pattern matching and validation by western blotting. We found 8 m/z peaks with statistical significance for the four cancer types investigated, of which m/z 2447 and 2577 were identified by pattern matching as fragments of cathepsin‑B (CTSB) and cystatin‑B (CSTB); both molecules are indicative of pancreatic cancer. Additionally, we observed a potential association of upregulated α‑1‑antichymotrypsin with pancreatic and gastric cancers, of PDCD6IP, vitelline membrane outer layer protein 1 homolog (VMO1) and triosephosphate isomerase (TPI1) with oesophagogastric junctional cancers, and of complement C4‑A, prostatic acid phosphatase, azurocidin and histone‑H1 with oesophageal cancer. Furthermore, the potential pancreatic cancer biomarkers CSTB and CTSB were validated independently by western blotting. Therefore, the present study identified two new potential urinary biomarkers that appear to be associated with pancreatic cancer. This may provide a simple, non‑invasive screening test for use in the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalBiomedical Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Mass spectrometry
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Upper gastrointestinal cancer
  • Urine biomarker


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