Most investigators agree that early detection increases the likelihood of a positive response to a given therapeutic intervention in cancer. Biomarkers are a necessary prerequisite for early detection. A healthcare provider needs some clue that cancer is likely to develop. More importantly, they need to know that the selected therapeutic intervention will be effective. It is no surprise then, that much of the work presented at the 2017 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was focused on discovering and validating novel cancer biomarkers.
Mahoney and Atkins describe four types of cancer biomarkers: diagnostic, surrogate, prognostic and predictive.
Diagnostic biomarkers are useful for diagnosing cancer. In this example, the biomarker distinguishes the normal cell from the cancer cell.
Surrogate biomarkers are stand-ins or proxies for cancer and its progression. In this example treatment efficacy is validated by lack of biomarker detection after a successful therapeutic intervention.
Prognostic biomarkers provide information about the risk cancer development or recurrence. In this example, early detection of a biomarker predicts cancer in the future.
Finally, Predictive biomarkers are useful for selecting an effective therapeutic intervention. In this example, therapeutic interventions that target the biomarker successfully eradicate cancer.
Although all validated biomarkers have an important role in the fight against cancer, predictive biomarkers are most useful. For example, expression of programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1) or programmed death receptor ligand 1 (PD-L1) in some types of cancer is correlated with increased efficacy of PD-1 or PD-L1 directed immunotherapy. By selecting cancer patients that are known to be responsive to a specific therapeutic intervention, clinicians are able to treat the disease more effectively.
It takes years of preclinical and clinical research to discover, test, and validate putative biomarkers. Bio-Techne is pleased to be able to partner with investigators as they strive to accomplish these challenging goals. Listed below is a mere fraction of the biomarker candidates discussed at AACR.
Learn more about Cancer Biomarkers available at Bio-Techne