Early Detection Research Network

ELISA microarray technology as a high-throughput system for cancer biomarker validation.

A large gap currently exists between the ability to discover potential biomarkers and the ability to assess the real value of these proteins for cancer screening. One major challenge in biomarker validation is the inherent variability in biomarker levels. This variability stems from the diversity across the human population and the considerable molecular heterogeneity between individual tumors, even those that originate from a single tissue. An additional challenge with cancer screening is that most cancers are rare in the general population, meaning that assay specificity must be very high. Otherwise, the number of false positives will be much greater than the number of true positives. Due to these challenges associated with biomarker validation, it is necessary to analyze thousands of samples in order to obtain a clear idea of the utility of a screening assay. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) microarray technology can simultaneously quantify levels of multiple proteins and, thus, has the potential to accelerate validation of protein biomarkers for clinical use. This review will discuss current ELISA microarray technology and potential advances that could help to achieve the reproducibility and throughput that are required to evaluate cancer biomarkers.

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Expert Rev Proteomics, 2006, 3 (1)