DEC 14, 2020 8:11 AM PST

Fibronectin Could Act as a Biomarker for Early Prognosis of Live Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Jasper Cantrell

Diagnostics is one of the key pillars of modern medicine. Diagnostics allows patients and doctors to identify a problem and even get ahead of it if caught early enough.


Cancer diagnostics is an example of how diagnostics can effect significant change. Many cancers can escape notice for months or years, and recurrence is unfortunately quite common. Current research is trying to develop diagnostic tools that can catch cancers at earlier stages, both before and after treatment. Statistically, patients have a much better chance of defeating cancer if it is caught early.

Hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer, is a common form of cancer across the world. It also has a high chance of recurrence after treatment, even when caught early. Current diagnostic testing relies on either imaging, biopsies, or biomarker tracking. The current standard biomarker is α-fetoprotein (AFP), but it lacks efficacy in detecting early-stage liver cancer.

In a new study out of Seoul National University in South Korea, a team of scientists wanted to see how the protein fibronectin would perform as a prognostic biomarker. Fibronectin is known to be expressed at high levels in some cancers and promote tumor progression. The team wanted to know if fibronectin to predict recurrence in a small group of liver cancer patients who experienced remission after successful treatment.

The team analyzed blood levels of both fibronectin and the current standard AFP and other characteristics such as age, sex, etc. All of the 83 patients in the study had early-stage liver cancer that had been successfully treated into remission. Of these, 39 patients developed recurrence over four years. Looking at the biomarker levels, the old standard, AFP, was of no significant predictive value. On the other hand, patients who developed recurrence tended to have higher fibronectin levels post-treatment. The team combined this with the observation that men were also more likely to have a recurrence and developed a prognostic test that could predict recurrence with better results than AFP.

This study managed to develop a simple and easy-to-use test that could predict early-stage liver cancer recurrence after successful remission better than AFP biomarker tests. The prognostic test used fibronectin levels and a patient’s sex, which performed better than alone. The study focused on early-stage liver cancers, and therefore the team admits the test may not work well with later-stage cancers. Catching cancer early is the goal, so even if this doesn’t hold up to late-stage cancers, it is a great step in the right direction.

The study concludes, “changes in serum fibronectin levels may be a surrogate indicator for assessment of treatment response in HCC. Our biomarker-based nomogram might be helpful for predicting tumor recurrence in patients with early HCC undergoing curative treatment.”

Sources: Nature Scientific Reports, Research Square

About the Author
  • Hey everyone! My name is Jasper and, considering I am pretty new here to Labroots, I figured I would introduce myself. I received my bachelor’s from the University of California at Riverside back in 2016. I started off my career a few years ago with a job at a University over in New York, before moving over into the industry. I'm happy to be writing content for Labroots, and I hope you enjoy it!
You May Also Like
OCT 28, 2020
Cancer
Protecting the Head and Neck from Off Target Radiation
OCT 28, 2020
Protecting the Head and Neck from Off Target Radiation
Radiotherapy alone or with chemotherapy is the go-to treatment for head and neck cancers. Unfortunately, head and neck t ...
DEC 08, 2020
Cancer
Stress hormones interrupt tumor cells' hibernation
DEC 08, 2020
Stress hormones interrupt tumor cells' hibernation
A new study published in Science Translational Medicine suggests that the hormones released from stress could “rea ...
DEC 21, 2020
Cancer
Examining the Bioactive Components of an Alga Against Cancer
DEC 21, 2020
Examining the Bioactive Components of an Alga Against Cancer
Many of today’s drugs come from vast libraries of synthetic compounds built by chemists for big pharma. This drug ...
DEC 29, 2020
Immunology
Cancer-Killing Viruses Enter in Stealth Mode, Penetrate Immune Barrier
DEC 29, 2020
Cancer-Killing Viruses Enter in Stealth Mode, Penetrate Immune Barrier
Viruses that when administered to patients preferentially attack and kill cancer cells, leaving normal tissues unscathed ...
JAN 04, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Good Results From Trial of CAR T Cell Therapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
JAN 04, 2021
Good Results From Trial of CAR T Cell Therapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Researchers have reported positive results from a phase 2 clinical trial of a CAR T cell therapy called axicabtagene cil ...
JAN 12, 2021
Cancer
The frightening association between oral sex and HPV-related cancers
JAN 12, 2021
The frightening association between oral sex and HPV-related cancers
New research published recently in the online edition of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Soc ...
Loading Comments...