Platelets: the holy grail in cancer blood biomarker research?

Siamack Sabrkhany, Marijke J E Kuijpers, Arjan W Griffioen, Mirjam G A Oude Egbrink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We would like to promote the fact that platelets are increasingly emerging as a rich source of potential biomarkers for cancer. Blood platelets contain vast amounts of bioactive proteins, such as growth factors, chemokines, and cytokines. These proteins are either synthesized by the megakaryocytes that produce the platelets or are sequestered by the circulating platelets from the blood, in which case these proteins may originate from the tumor. Recent studies in patients have demonstrated that the presence of cancer influences multiple platelet characteristics (e.g., platelet count, volume, activation status, proteins, and RNA content). Interestingly, these changes happened already in early stages of the disease before metastasis had occurred. Additionally, exploiting these platelet alterations enabled discrimination of patients with early-stage cancer from healthy sex- and age-matched individuals. Therefore, we challenge clinicians and researchers to look beyond traditional fluid sources such as plasma or serum, and to take platelets and their content into account as they may become the holy grail in cancer blood biomarker research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-2
Issue number1
Early online date20 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019

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