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Featured article: Evaluation of the potential of Pap test fluid and cervical swabs to serve as clinical diagnostic biospecimens for the detection of ovarian cancer by mass spectrometry-based proteomics

The purpose of the study was to determine whether the residual fixative from a liquid-based Pap test or a swab of the cervix contained proteins that were also found in the primary tumor of a woman with high grade serous ovarian cancer. The proposed strategy takes advantage of the proximity of the cervix to the ovary (i.e. proteins may be secreted or shed from the tumor and flow through the fallopian tube into the uterus and out the cervical opening), and uses already-obtained diagnostic material, which may help with cost-containment and accessibility. This study is the first step in determining the feasibility of using the liquid-based Pap test or a cervical swab for the detection of ovarian cancer protein biomarkers. The data demonstrate that ovarian cancer biomarkers can be detected in Pap test fluid or a cervical swab by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. In addition to identifying multiple known biomarkers, over 2000 proteins were detected in all three biospecimens, suggesting a potential role for novel biomarker discovery. Because Pap test screening is widely accepted, the development of the Pap test as a screening tool for both cervical and ovarian cancers might improve the efficacy of testing for a lethal but elusive disease. The results provide proof of concept: that Pap test fluid or cervical swabs could be used for detection of ovarian cancer biomarker proteins, and this approach warrants further investigation. [Boylan, K.L.M., Afiuni-Zadeh, S., Geller, M.A. et al. Evaluation of the potential of Pap test fluid and cervical swabs to serve as clinical diagnostic biospecimens for the detection of ovarian cancer by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Clin Proteom 18, 4 (2021).]


Archival content

In 2011, Clinical Proteomics converted from a subscription publication to a fully open access journal. The journal's back content can be viewed on SpringerLink.

Aims and scope

Clinical Proteomics encompasses all aspects of translational proteomics. Special emphasis will be placed on the application of proteomic technology to all aspects of clinical research and molecular medicine. The journal is committed to rapid scientific review and timely publication of submitted manuscripts.

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Editor's profile

Dr Daniel W Chan  is currently Professor of Pathology, Oncology, Urology, and Radiology at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, and Director of the Clinical Chemistry Division, Co-Director at the Pathology Core Laboratory, and Director at the Center for Biomarker Discovery and Translation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has worked extensively on the development and application of proteomic and immunologic techniques in the understanding of cancer. As the author of five books and over 300 articles, Dr Chan has become established as a leading expert in clinical proteomics and cancer research. Dr Chan is an active member of US Human Proteome Organization (USHUPO), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC).

Featured collections


Guest edited by Vera Ignjavtovic, Allen Everett and Hanno Steen

The Paediatric Proteomics (PediOme) is an initiative of HUPO that aims to advance the use of proteomic techniques to solve major issues in Paediatric medicine.

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Proteomics in India

Guest edited by Harsha Gowda and Akhilesh Pandey

This collections features the latest advances in Proteomics research from India.

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Glycoproteomics and glycomics

Guest edited by Punit Shah and Hui Zhang

This thematic series publishes both solicited and unsolicited content on the topic of protein glycosylation; one of the most common protein modifications in both normal biological processes and diseases. This series focuses on glycoproteomic or glycomic methods and their clinical applications.

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