To investigate the proteomic background of malignancies of the pleura, we examined and compared the proteomic profile of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM)(10 cases), lung adenocarcinoma (11 cases), squamous cell carcinoma of the lung (13 cases), pleomorphic carcinoma of the lung (3 cases) and synovial sarcoma (6 cases). Cellular proteins were extracted from specific populations of tumor cells recovered by laser microdissection. The extracted proteins were labeled with CyDye DIGE Fluor saturation dyes and subjected to two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) using a large format electrophoresis device. Among 3875 protein spots observed, the intensity of 332 was significantly different (Wilcoxon p value less than 0.05) and with more than two-fold inter-sample-group average difference between the different histology groups. Among these 332, 282 were annotated by LC-MS/MS and included known biomarker proteins for MPM, such as calretinin, as well as proteins previously uncharacterized in MPM. Tissue microarray immunohistochemistry revealed that the expression of cathepsin D was lower in MPM than in lung adenocarcinoma (15% vs. 44% of cases respectively in immunohistochemistry). In conclusion, we examined the protein expression profile of MPM and other lung malignancies, and identified cathepsin D to distinguish MPM from most popular lung cancer such as lung adenocarcinoma.
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