A protein variant of carboxypeptidase E has now been shown to induce tumor growth and metastases. By measuring the level of this protein in the tumor and surrounding tissue, we may soon be able to predict whether a tumor is likely to spread or has already spread. The predictability of tumor behavior, using this new novel biomarker, appears to trump the outcomes based on staging and grade of the tumor. The tempo of the disease even in patients with advanced cancer can be predicted measuring the levels of this biomarker, with tumors expressing high levels of this protein doing poorly. This may also help the clinician determine when to treat a patient with cancer and when to just monitor without pursuing aggressive chemotherapeutic intervention.
These findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Feb 2011.