Study: Biomarkers may aid in early diagnosis of breast cancer

August 02, 2017

Three phases of screens were performed, using increasingly rigorous statistical selection standards that narrowed down the number of potential biomarkers candidates from 5,000 to 761, which showed any measurable difference between healthy and disease populations, to 119, which showed a clear statistical difference. Finally, these were then tested in a blinded study (where the researchers did not know which samples were from breast cancer patients and which ones were from controls) to find the final 28 biomarkers. The group not only looked at how each individual biomarker fared during the screening, but also how the entire panel of biomarkers worked together.

This was the first time the group has utilized NAPPA technology to identify the parts of the immune response that are activated during cancer, and the first serum biomarker panel developed for the discrimination of benign breast disease from invasive breast cancers. The group was pleased to confirm that many of the candidate biomarkers have also been described as important in breast cancer tumor biology and pathology.

"We were surprised at how hard it is to find biomarkers like this," said LaBaer. "The changes are subtle and rare, which is a real warning shot to those investigating breast cancer research. The key is a team approach that combines many different types of scientific expertise to tackle the problem."

In addition, LaBaer's team has a broad interest in identifying autoantibody biomarkers in patients that can be readily used for the detection of many other cancers, such as ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer as well as autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.

Source: Arizona State University