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International Collaborators Focus on Biomarkers for Early Detection of Cancer

Participants at a USA–Japan Workshop on Biomarkers for Cancer Early Detection present cutting-edge research in a special issue of <em>Cancer Biomarkers</em>

Amsterdam, NL – Successful treatment of cancer frequently depends on early detection. However, many cancers are detected late, often after metastasizing to other sites. Participants at the 7th USA–Japan Workshop on Biomarkers for Cancer Early Detection presented cutting-edge research to improve early detection and cancer prevention using advanced biomarkers and radiomics. Their findings and recommendations are published in a special issue of Cancer Biomarkers

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN), and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) hold an annual USA–Japan Workshop on Biomarkers for Cancer Early Detection. The 7th USA–Japan Workshop was held at the Ito International Research Center at the University of Tokyo in January 2020.

CBM press release about US-Japan collaboration with delegates of the 2020 conference
Attendees of the 7th USA–Japan Workshop on Biomarkers for Cancer Early Detection (credit: Kazufumi Honda)

“Researchers from Japan and the US have been meeting annually to exchange ideas for the early diagnosis and detection of cancer since 2016,” explained Guest Editor Kazufumi Honda, DDS, PhD, Department of Bioregulation, Graduate School of Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan. “These pipelines and platforms for early detection of cancer will contribute to the implementation of attractive new methods for early cancer diagnosis, with the potential to decrease cancer.” 

The papers in this special issue describe new technologies for comprehensively measuring proteins and metabolites using mass spectrometry; validation studies to evaluate the clinical utility of new diagnostic methods; use of computational science to analyze large volumes of information acquired by new technology; and blood biomarkers that facilitate the early detection of pancreatic cancer and also help identify high-risk individuals.

Mortality rates of pancreatic cancer are the worst among solid cancers. However, this is an uncommon cancer with an age-adjusted annual incidence of 12.9 cases per 100,000 person-years. To efficiently identify patients with potentially surgically-curable pancreatic cancer, high-risk individuals should be identified by easily and minimally invasive methods from the general population. Dr. Honda and colleagues described blood biomarkers that facilitate not only the early detection of pancreatic cancer, but also help identify high-risk individuals. The clinical usefulness of apolipoprotein A2-isoforms (apoA2-i), which are formed by post-translational modification via enzymatic activity in pancreatic lesions, for the early detection and risk stratification of pancreatic cancer were reviewed. The results of a large-scale prospective screening study for pancreatic cancer that used the apoA2-i blood test were also presented.

The large volume of information acquired by new technology cannot be analyzed without computational science. Matthew B. Schabath, PhD, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA, and colleagues utilized peritumoral and intratumoral radiomics and volume doubling time (VDT) to identify high-risk subsets of lung cancer patients diagnosed by lung cancer screening who tend to have poor survival outcomes. They generated a model that identifies the high-risk group of screen-detected lung cancers that is associated with poor survival outcomes. 

Sumio Ohtsuki, PhD, and colleagues from Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan, reported on rapid validation methods for protein biomarkers using targeted proteomics and mass spectrometry. 

A team co-led by Yoshihiro Shimizu, PhD, from RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research, Osaka, Japan, and Alireza Mashaghi, MD, PhD, from Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands, presented a novel exploration method using capillary microsampling-based single-cell metabolomics with high-resolution mass spectrometry, which can identify the metabolomic profile of a single circulating tumor cell.

Pierre Massion, MD, presented at this conference but unexpectedly passed away on June 4, 2021. He was the Lead Primary Investigator of the Clinical Validation Center (CVC) of the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) along with Eric L. Grogan, MD, MPH, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Veterans Affairs, Nashville, TN, USA. In honor of Dr. Massion’s decade of work developing and validating lung cancer biomarkers, Michael N. Kammer, PhD, also from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Grogan, and colleagues described the roles of the Vanderbilt University EDRN Lung CVC in phase-1, -2, and, -3 lung cancer biomarker validation studies.

Jennifer B. Permuth, PhD, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA, and colleagues covered the importance of implementing quality control procedures when designing multicenter evaluations of miRNA abundance.

D.J. Crichton, MS, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA, and colleagues presented the collaborative work of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), JPL, NCI EDRN, and the Molecular and Cellular Characterization of Screen-Detected Lesions (MCL), which will enable data-driven discovery in cancer biomarker research using artificial intelligence and machine learning with automated annotation and data science.

“The development of biomarkers requires sizeable investment and infrastructure-related resources, and it takes several years to bring biomarkers to clinical use,” noted Sudhir Srivastava, PhD, Chief of the Cancer Biomarkers Research Group, National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Prevention, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA, and Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Biomarkers. “The US–Japan partnership will strengthen collaborations by creating a vehicle for each country to interact with and co-fund the development of the required infrastructure.”

Dr. Srivastava continued, “There is an urgent need to discover and validate biomarkers for less common cancers and the collaboration between the US and Japan could enhance the discovery process. It is hoped that such sharing of data and knowledge will continue to help tackle the complex issues surrounding biomarkers for early detection.”

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Special Issue: Collaboration between the US and Japan for the Early Detection of Cancer

Cancer Biomarkers, Volume 33, Issue 4 
Guest-Editor: Kazufumi Honda, DDS, PhD, Department of Bioregulation, Graduate School of Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan
Full content at: content.iospress.com/journals/cancer-biomarkers/33/4

This special issue contains a total of seven peer-reviewed articles will be openly available until October 31, 2022.
View the issue newsletter here.

For additional information contact Diana Murray, IOS Press (+1 718-640-5678 or d.murray@iospress.com). Journalists wishing to interview the Guest Editor or contributing authors should contact Kazufumi Honda, DDS, PhD (k-honda@nms.ac.jp). 

About Cancer Biomarkers
Concentrating on molecular biomarkers in cancer research, Cancer Biomarkers publishes original research findings and reviews on the subject of the identification of markers associated with the disease processes whether or not they are an integral part of the pathological lesion. The disease markers may include, but are not limited to, genomic, epigenomic, proteomics, cellular and morphologic, and genetic factors predisposing to the disease or indicating the occurrence of the disease. Manuscripts on these factors or biomarkers, either in altered forms, abnormal concentrations, or with abnormal tissue distribution leading to disease causation are accepted. iospress.com/cancer-biomarkers

About IOS Press
IOS Press is an independent international scientific, technical, medical (STM) publishing house established in 1987 in Amsterdam. We produce around 90 journals and 70 books annually in a broad range of subject categories, primarily specializing in biomedical and life sciences (including neurosciences, medical informatics, cancer research, rehabilitation) and physical sciences (including computer sciences, artificial intelligence, engineering). In addition, we offer specialized services that support scientific advancement. iospress.com