Breast Cancer Could Be Caught 2 Years Earlier With Protein Changes In Blood



(CTN News) – There is an opportunity to develop a blood test that could be able to detect breast cancer up to two years in advance. This test could be based on newly discovered protein changes in the blood.

Researchers revealed on Wednesday that they had found that six proteins in the blood of people who had been diagnosed with cancer had changed in levels before they received the diagnosis.

They claimed that these findings could provide a basis for blood testing. This could help catch breast cancer early in people who are genetically predisposed or have a family history of breast cancer. By catching cancer early one can reduce the chance of death from the disease.

It has been reported that the 5-year relative survival rate for early-diagnosed cancer is about 99%, but if the cancer is detected late and has spread beyond the breast tissue, then the rate drops to about 10%, according to the American Cancer Society.

Several new results have been published from a study called “Trial Early Serum Test” , or TESTBREAST , conducted in 2011.

Currently, 1174 women are participating in the study, all of whom have a family history of breast cancer or carry gene variants that have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

In order to participate in the study, the women have to give blood samples at least once per year for a period of ten years. This is each time they undergo a screening. Should they develop breast cancer, they are also required to give samples at the time of diagnosis.

There was a study conducted by a team from Leiden University. The team examined 30 blood samples from three women who were diagnosed with cancer and three who were not.

One or two years prior to the diagnosis of  cancer, the researchers found distinct differences in the levels of six proteins: one or two proteins were at higher or lower levels than the other proteins.

A presentation of the findings by Ms. Hagenaars of The Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands presented her findings at the 13th European Cancer Conference. As Sophie Hagenaars pointed out at the Leiden University Medical Center, the levels of the marker protein vary more between individuals than over time within the same individual.

Hagenaars says that these findings indicate that tests should be based both on the proteins that differ between women with and without breast cancer, as well as the proteins that alter over the course of time in individuals.

I believe that this testing could be used as an add-on to existing screening techniques in the future, provided that further research validates our findings. People are able to be screened as often as they need, since blood tests are relatively simple and not particularly painful for most people.”

A large group of TESTBREAST women with and without breast cancer will be followed up by the team in order to validate their findings.

There is a well-established screening program in place for women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer. These programs are conducted at a fixed point in time, according to Dr. Laura Biganzoli, co-chair of the European Breast Cancer Conference, and who was not involved in the study.

The findings of this study may ultimately lead to the development of a blood test that could help guide personalized screenings of women at high risk for the development of breast cancer and lead to the early diagnosis of breast cancer.

How does breast cancer start?

Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast (such as cells lining the ducts and lobules) begin to grow abnormally. These cells have the potential to grow out of control and invade the surrounding tissue. When this occurs, this is called invasive breast cancer.


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