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New Biomarker for Cancer Development Discovered

In a recent study, Dr. Angela Hirbe and her team analyzed βIII-spectrin expression in a series samples from patients cared for in the Washington University NF Center and the Siteman Cancer Center Sarcoma Program. While strong βIII-spectrin expression was detected in all high-grade MPNSTs, it was found in only half of the low-grade MPNSTs and in none of the benign tumors. These exciting results suggest that βIII-spectrin may be a sensitive marker for MPNSTs, which may aid in the diagnosis of these tumors.

Ongoing work in the Hirbe laboratory is currently aimed at developing a clinic-grade monoclonal antibody, validating these findings using samples from other institutions, and correlating βIII-spectrin immunostaining with clinical outcome.

This report was published in Neuro-Oncology.


Hirbe AC, Zhang X, Dahiya S, Godec A, Chrisinger J, Tao Y, Luo J, Gutmann DH. β-III-spectrin immunohistochemistry as a potential diagnostic tool with high sensitivity for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. Neuro Oncol. 2018 May 18;20(6):858-860. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noy038.