Secretome profiling of primary cells reveals that THBS2 is a salivary biomarker of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma

Chia Wei Hsu, Jau Song Yu, Pei Hua Peng, Shu Chen Liu, Yu Sun Chang, Kai Ping Chang, Chih Ching Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), which is a leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, is frequently associated with poor prognosis and mortality. The discovery of body fluid-accessible biomarkers may help improve the detection of OSCC. In the present work, we established primary cell cultures derived from OSCC and adjacent noncancerous epithelium and performed comparative profiling of their secretomes. Using spectral counting-based label-free quantification, we found that 64 proteins were significantly higher in primary OSCC cells compared with primary adjacent noncancerous cells. We then retrieved the mRNA expression levels of these 64 proteins in oral cavity tumor and noncancerous tissues from public domain array-based transcriptome data sets and used this information to prioritize the biomarker candidates. We identified 19 candidates; among them, the protein levels of THBS2, UFD1L, and DNAJB11 were found to be elevated in OSCC tissues compared with adjacent noncancerous epithelia. Importantly, higher levels of THBS2 in OSCC tissues were associated with a higher overall pathological stage, positive perineural invasion, and a poorer prognosis. Moreover, the salivary levels of THBS2 in OSCC patients were elevated compared to those of noncancer controls. Our results collectively indicate that analysis of the primary cell secretome is a feasible strategy for biomarker identification, and that THBS2 is a potentially useful salivary marker for the detection of OSCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4796-4807
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - 7 Nov 2014


  • biomarker
  • oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma
  • primary cell
  • saliva
  • secretome
  • thrombospondin-2


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