Mapping molecular networks using proteomics: A vision for patient-tailored combination therapy
Protein Array Analysis
Mapping tumor cell protein networks in vivo will be critical for realizing the promise of patient-tailored molecular therapy. Cancer can be defined as a dysregulation or hyperactivity in the network of intracellular and extracellular signaling cascades. These protein signaling circuits are the ultimate targets of molecular therapy. Each patient's tumor may be driven by a distinct series of molecular pathogenic defects. Thus, for any single molecular targeted therapy, only a subset of cancer patients may respond. Individualization of therapy, which tailors a therapeutic regimen to a tumor molecular portrait, may be the solution to this dilemma. Until recently, the field lacked the technology for molecular profiling at the genomic and proteomic level. Emerging proteomic technology, used concomitantly with genomic analysis, promises to meet this need and bring to reality the clinical adoption of molecular stratification. The activation state of kinase-driven signal networks contains important information relative to cancer pathogenesis and therapeutic target selection. Proteomic technology offers a means to quantify the state of kinase pathways, and provides post-translational phosphorylation data not obtainable by gene arrays. Case studies using clinical research specimens are provided to show the feasibility of generating the critical information needed to individualize therapy. Such technology can reveal potential new pathway interconnections, including differences between primary and metastatic lesions. We provide a vision for individualized combinatorial therapy based on proteomic mapping of phosphorylation end points in clinical tissue material.