7 Types of Biomarkers
biomarker is a protein, a chemical, its metabolite, or the product of an interaction between a chemical and some target molecule or cell that is measured in the human body. Using modern analytical technology it is now possible to measure a large number of biomarkers present in the human organism (in blood, tissues, urine, hair, etc.). Biomonitoring techniques are becoming, in fact, common tools for decision-makers in the health and environmental fields. There are 7 distinct categories of biomarkers. Curios? Read on!
1. Susceptibility/Risk Biomarkers
The first category is susceptibility/risk biomarkers. These biomarkers can predict an individual's likelihood of developing a particular disease or medical condition in the future. For example, a genetic test that identifies a predisposition to breast cancer can be considered a susceptibility/risk biomarker.
Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, for example, are associated with an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Testing for these mutations can identify individuals who may benefit from increased surveillance, risk-reducing surgeries, or targeted therapies.
2. Diagnostic Biomarkers
The second category is diagnostic biomarkers, which are used to detect or confirm the presence of a disease or medical condition. Diagnostic biomarkers can also provide information about the characteristics of a disease. Here are some examples of disease biomarkers:
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA): PSA is a biomarker used in the diagnosis (and monitoring) of prostate cancer. High levels of PSA in the blood can indicate the presence of prostate cancer, while changes in PSA levels over time can be used to monitor disease progression or response to treatment.
C-reactive protein (CRP): CRP is a biomarker used to assess inflammation in the body. Elevated levels of CRP in the blood can be associated with various inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and cardiovascular diseases.
3. Prognostic Biomarkers
The third category is prognostic biomarkers, which can predict the likelihood of a clinical event, such as disease recurrence or progression, in patients who already have the disease. Examples of prognostic biomarkers include:
Ki-67: This protein is a marker of cell proliferation and is commonly used as a prognostic biomarker in breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other cancers. High levels of Ki-67 are associated with more aggressive tumors and worse outcomes.
BRAF: is a gene that is frequently mutated in melanoma and other cancers. Testing for BRAF mutations can help predict the response to targeted therapies such as BRAF inhibitors. Patients with BRAF mutations may have a better response to these drugs and may benefit from earlier treatment with them.