Serum proteins are differentially expressed following treatment with docetaxel, in patients with thymoma-associated myasthenia gravis, found a new study published in the journal Neurology and Therapy. This suggests that these proteins play important roles in the pathogenesis of the disease.

The authors of the study identified 2 proteins in particular, KRAS and SELP, that could be good biomarkers for the evaluation of the efficacy of docetaxel treatment.

Read more about the symptoms of myasthenia gravis

Good biomarkers to evaluate how effective docetaxel is to treat myasthenia gravis patients with thymoma are lacking, the researchers noted. To identify such biomarkers, a team of Chinese researchers, from the Center of Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis, People’s Hospital of Shijiazhuang Affiliated to Hebei Medical University in Shijiazhuang, conducted a serum proteomics study in 30 patients and 9 healthy volunteers. The researchers also recruited an additional 30 patients to validate their findings.

They identified 43 proteins, the interactions of which they analyzed with myasthenia gravis pathogenic proteins that they obtained from the DisGNET database, a platform that contains information about disease-associated genes and variants. They also analyzed the possible correlation between these proteins with the clinical data of their patients.

Of these 42 proteins, they screened out and validated 2, KRAS and SELP. They found that the expression of these 2 proteins was increased in myasthenia gravis patients with thymoma and. significantly reduced following treatment with docetaxel.

“Our study . . . provid[es] a basis for future research on the mechanism of docetaxel treatment in patients with [myashenia gravis],” they concluded. 

Docetaxel is a chemotherapy agent used to treat many types of cancer including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, and thoracic cancer. Research has shown that docetaxel could also significantly alleviate the symptoms of myasthenia gravis in patients with thymoma-associated disease.


Yang H, Qi G, Dong H, Liu Z, Ma M, Liu P. Identification of potential serum protein biomarkers in thymoma with myasthenia gravis after docetaxel treatment. Neurol Ther. Published online February 14, 2023. doi:10.1007/s40120-023-00442-3