Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Proteomics of Malignant Mesothelioma and New Candidate Biomarkers Thioredoxin and Superoxide Dismutase 2 for Immunohistochemistry

Laboratory Investigation 2023 November [Link]

Takuya Hiratsuka, Akihiko Yoshizawa, Tatsuya Endo, Takushi Yamamoto, Shinya Toyokuni, Tatsuaki Tsuruyama


The pathogenesis of malignant mesothelioma (MM) has been extensively investigated, focusing on stress derived from reactive oxygen species. We aimed to identify diagnostic biomarkers of MM by analyzing proteins in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. We extracted proteins from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections of MM tissues (n = 7) and compared their profiles with those of benign mesothelial tissues (n = 4) and alveolar tissue (n = 1). Proteomic data were statistically assessed and profiled using principal component analysis. We were successful in the classification of MM and healthy tissue. The levels of superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2), an enzyme that converts superoxide anion into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, and thioredoxin (TXN), which plays a crucial role in reducing disulfide bonds in proteins, primarily contributed to the classification. Other redox-related proteins, such as pyruvate dehydrogenase subunit X, and ceruloplasmin also contributed to the classification. Protein-protein interaction analysis demonstrated that these proteins play essential roles in MM pathogenesis. Immunohistochemistry revealed that TXN levels were significantly lower, whereas SOD2 levels were significantly higher in MM and lung cancer tissues than in controls. Proteomic profiling suggested that MM tissues experienced increased exposure to hydrogen peroxide and other reactive oxygen species. Combining immunohistochemistry for TXN and SOD2 allows for differentiation among MM, lung cancer, and control tissues; hence, TXN and SOD2 may be promising MM biomarkers and therapeutic targets.