Bechr Hamrita, Hela ben nasr, Karim Chahed, Maria Kabbage and Lotfi Chouchane
Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in women, accounting for approximately 40,000 deaths annually in the USA. In Tunisia, the incidence of breast cancer is approximately 19 new cases per 100,000 women per year. Significant advances have been made in the areas of detection and treatment, but a significant number of breast cancers are detected late. The enormous progress in proteomics, enabled by recent advances in MS (mass spectrometry), has brought protein analysis back into the limelight of breast cancer research, reviving old areas as well as opening new fields of study like early detection, prognosis, diagnosis, and therapy. Several proteomics technologies have been used to uncover molecular mechanisms associated with breast carcinoma at the global level to discover protein patterns that distinguish disease and disease-free states with high sensitivity and specificity. Breast cancer proteomics has already identified markers of potential clinical interest (such as the molecular chaperone alpha B-crystallin) and technological innovations such as large scale and high throughput analysis are now driving the field. In this review, we discuss the basic features of proteomic technologies, including MS, and we consider the main current applications and challenges of proteomics in breast cancer research, including (i) protein expression profiling of breast tumours, tumour cells, tumour fluids and the auto-immune response of the breast cancer cells. All of these applications continue to benefit from further technological advances, such as the development of proteomics methods, high-resolution, highsensitivity MS, SERPA approach, and advanced bioinformatics for data handling and interpretation.