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.
- Discovery Proteomics
PURPOSE: Endometrial cancer (EC) diagnosis relies on the observation of tumor cells in endometrial biopsies obtained by aspiration i.e., uterine aspirates), but it is associated with 22% undiagnosed patients and up to 50% of incorrectly assigned EC histotype and grade. We aimed to identify biomarker signatures in the fluid fraction of these biopsies to overcome these limitations. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The levels of 52 proteins were measured in the fluid fraction of uterine aspirates from 116 patients by LC-PRM, the latest generation of targeted mass-spectrometry acquisition. A logistic regression model was used to assess the power of protein panels to differentiate between EC and non-EC patients and between EC histological subtypes. The robustness of the panels was assessed by the "leave-one-out" cross-validation procedure performed within the same cohort of patients and an independent cohort of 38 patients. RESULTS: The levels of 28 proteins were significantly higher in EC patients (n=69) compared to controls (n=47). The combination of MMP9 and KPYM exhibited 94% sensitivity and 87% specificity for detecting EC cases. This panel perfectly complemented the standard diagnosis, achieving 100% of correct diagnosis in this dataset. Nine proteins were significantly increased in endometrioid EC (n=49) compared to serous EC (n=20). The combination of CTNB1, XPO2 and CAPG achieved 95% sensitivity and 96% specificity for the discrimination of these subtypes. CONCLUSIONS: We developed two uterine aspirate-based signatures to diagnose EC and classify tumors in the most prevalent histological subtypes. This will improve diagnosis and assist in the prediction of the optimal surgical treatment.