A controversial tumor marker: Is SM22 a proper biomarker for gastric cancer cells?

Na Li, Jun Zhang, Yumei Liang, Jianmin Shao, Fuli Peng, Maomao Sun, Ningzhi Xu, Xianghong Li, Rong Wang, Siqi Liu, Youyong Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


SM22, a dominant protein in smooth muscle cells (SMCs), has been widely reported to be abnormally expressed in many solid tumors. However, the expression patterns of SM22 are not consistent in all tumors, not even in the same ones. Whether SM22 should be considered a tumor biomarker is still debated in different laboratories. Herein, we have carried out a systematical investigation to validate SM22 expression in the primary tissues of gastric cancer (GC). Of eight cases, seven samples were found in the elevated expression of SM22 proteins through proteomic analysis. The observation was further verified by the approaches of Western blotting and quantitative RT-PCR. Surprisingly, the results achieved from tissue microarray in 126 GC cases appeared contrary to the proteomic conclusion, in which the highly expressed SM22 was mainly found in smooth muscle layers, blood vessels, and myofibroblasts. This suggested that the increased abundance of SM22 in the cancerous regions was not caused by the presence of the GC cells. Furthermore, the expression of SM22 was measured in different GC cell lines and SMCs with Western blotting and quantitative RT-PCR. The results revealed that SM22 expression in SMCs was dramatically higher than that of the GC cells, which indicates that SM22 is unlikely to be a proper biomarker for GC. Instead, it can be considered a potential indicator for the abnormal developments of smooth muscles, blood vessels, or myofibroblasts triggered by tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3304-3312
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Biomarker
  • Gastric cancer
  • Proteomics
  • SM22
  • Tissue microarray


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