Author(s): Alok Mishra, Mukesh Verma
A biomarker is a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention. In cancer, a biomarker refers to a substance or process that is indicative of the presence of cancer in the body. A biomarker might be either a molecule secreted by a tumor or it can be a specific response of the body to the presence of cancer. Genetic, epigenetic, proteomic, glycomic, and imaging biomarkers can be used for cancer diagnosis, prognosis and epidemiology. These markers can be assayed in non-invasively collected biofluids. However, few cancer biomarkers are highly sensitive and specific for cancer detection at the present time. Consequently, biomarkers are not yet ready for routine use due to challenges in their clinical validation for early disease detection, diagnosis and monitoring to improve long-term survival of patients.