Platelets: A new reporter system for cancer diagnostics


The association of platelets and cancer has been known for a long time. Platelets are highly reactive components of the circulatory system, beyond haemostatic activity they contribute to various pathological conditions such as inflammation, atherosclerosis and cancer metastases.

Metastases may occur when tumor cells from a primary tumor migrate into the blood circulation. It is known that platelets are activated by cancer cells to transform into so called Tumor Educated Platelets (TEP). TMP’s can attach to circulating tumor cells and form platelet-tumor cell aggregates. Only very few cancer cells survive the host defense mechanism in distant organs however platelet-tumor cell aggregates protect cancer cells from detection of the immune defense system.

TEP’s are characterized by a differently expressed proteome. By investigating this difference, NeoProteomics has identified and patented  sets of biomarkers for various cancer indications. These sets of biomarkers may allow to diagnose even early stage of cancer.


Specific   Safe     Early


NeoProteomics technology is based on biomarkers from platelets. This will be the basis for so-called blood-based liquid biopsy products for diagnosis.

The biomarkers will be grouped in panels for each targeted cancer and made into multiplex Ab-based diagnostic kits. These kits will be adapted to exisiting instrument platforms that are used in i e CLIA-certified laboratories.

The possibility to diagnose a cancer disease by analysing the platelet biomarkers from a blood sample, makes the method extremely patient friendly and safe compared to current tissue biopsies.


Platelets are present in a large quantity (approximately 150 000 000 – 400 000 000 per ml) in the bloodstream.

Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC’s) are generally present in a small number (approximately 1-10 per ml).

In comparison between those, even if only 10% of the platelets will be tumor activated, which has been shown in early stage of cancer, there are still about 106 more activated platelets than CTS’s in a normal blood sample.  Thus, this presents an important in vivo enhancement of measurable tumor incidence that increases sensitivity and enable early detection. The biomarkers are combined in a panel for each indication which also results in a high specificity for diagnosis.



NeoProteomics has validated its first panel of biomarkers in the cancer area to be use as a diagnostic tool for clinicians and product development has started. Using liquid biopsy and a biomarker analysis in combination with the current and future improved non-invasive clinical tools to locate a tumor, cancer care can become more efficient, less time consuming and improve quality for the patients, which will reduce future costs of health care.

Indications in focus

A number of aggressive cancers in need of new diagnostic procedures have been investigated and NeoProteomics is now developing assays and products for: