There is a high unmet need for early detection approaches for diffuse gastric cancer (DGC). We examined whether the stool proteome of mouse models of gastric cancer (GC) and individuals with hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) have utility as biomarkers for early detection. Proteomic mass spectrometry of the stool of a genetically engineered mouse model driven by oncogenic KrasG12D and loss of p53 and Cdh1 in gastric parietal cells [known as Triple Conditional (TCON) mice] identified differentially abundant proteins compared with littermate controls. Immunoblot assays validated a panel of proteins, including actinin alpha 4 (ACTN4), N-acylsphingosine amidohydrolase 2 (ASAH2), dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), and valosin-containing protein (VCP), as enriched in TCON stool compared with littermate control stool. Immunofluorescence analysis of these proteins in TCON stomach sections revealed increased protein expression compared with littermate controls. Proteomic mass spectrometry of stool obtained from patients with HDGC with CDH1 mutations identified increased expression of ASAH2, DPP4, VCP, lactotransferrin (LTF), and tropomyosin-2 relative to stool from healthy sex- and age-matched donors. Chemical inhibition of ASAH2 using C6 urea ceramide was toxic to GC cell lines and GC patient-derived organoids. This toxicity was reversed by adding downstream products of the S1P synthesis pathway, which suggested a dependency on ASAH2 activity in GC. An exploratory analysis of the HDGC stool microbiome identified features that correlated with patient tumors. Herein, we provide evidence supporting the potential of analyzing stool biomarkers for the early detection of DGC.

Prevention Relevance: This study highlights a novel panel of stool protein biomarkers that correlate with the presence of DGC and has potential use as early detection to improve clinical outcomes.

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