People suffering from uncommon diseases often do not benefit from the advances in medical research due to lack of research. One such disease is angiosarcoma, a highly aggressive cancer originating from blood vessels with risk factors including toxic exposure, radiotherapy and lymphedema. Angiosarcoma in dogs (commonly called hemangiosarcoma) is a very similar disease with much higher prevalence, comprising up to 7% of all canine malignancies. For both species, an accurate diagnostic method is needed for more favorable outcome.
We developed a biomarker discovery pipeline consisting of a high-throughput biomarker discovery platform and a database for data mining and statistical analysis for candidate identification. The platform screens for differential glycosylation of serum glycoproteins as potential biomarkers utilizing 20 individual lectins followed by direct coupling to tandem mass spectrometry.1 The database facilitates the identification of differential glycosylation and produces a ranked list of potential biomarker candidates. Using this pipeline, sera from 10 dogs with hemangiosarcoma with 10 age and sex-matched control sera were processed and analyzed.
Candidates from the database were ranked based on its ability to classify normal and cancer.2 The ranked list of candidates for this screen composed of glycoproteins involved in cell migration, tumor immune response, and glycoproteins reported to be altered in human and canine angiosarcoma and other cancer types. Some examples will be shown to illustrate the change in specific glycosylation structures associated with cancer as measured by binding to specific lectin(s) while binding to other lectins are not changed. These glycosylation-specific changes are potentially more specific diagnostic biomarkers than circulating proteins alone.
We are currently validating the identified candidates and pursuing the development of clinical tests to improve diagnosis and clinical outcomes of angiosarcoma for both dogs and humans.