Global serum profiling: an opportunity for earlier cancer detection

Sala, Alexandra, Cameron, James M., Brennan, Paul M., Crosbie, Emma J., Curran, Tom, Gray, Ewan, Martin-Hirsch, Pierre, Palmer, David S., Rehman, Ihtesham U. et al (2023) Global serum profiling: an opportunity for earlier cancer detection. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research (JECCR) .

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The advances in cancer research achieved in the last 50 years have been remarkable and have provided a deeper knowledge of this disease in many of its conceptual and biochemical aspects. From viewing a tumor as a ‘simple’ aggregate of mutant cells and focusing on detecting key cell changes leading to the tumorigenesis, the understanding of cancer has broadened to consider it as a complex organ interacting with its close and far surroundings through tumor and non-tumor cells, metabolic mechanisms, and immune processes. Metabolism and the immune system have been linked to tumorigenesis and malignancy progression along with cancer-specific genetic mutations. However, most technologies developed to overcome the barriers to earlier detection are focused solely on genetic information. The concept of cancer as a complex organ has led to research on other analytical techniques, with the quest of finding a more sensitive and cost-effective comprehensive approach. Furthermore, artificial intelligence has gained broader consensus in the oncology community as a powerful tool with the potential to revolutionize cancer diagnosis for physicians. We herein explore the relevance of the concept of cancer as a complex organ interacting with the bodily surroundings, and focus on promising emerging technologies seeking to diagnose cancer earlier, such as liquid biopsies. We highlight the importance of a comprehensive approach to encompass all the tumor and non-tumor derived information salient to earlier cancer detection.

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