Biomarkers of metastatic risk in breast cancer
Two proteins could indicate how dangerous breast cancer actually is. According to a Californian study, whether the cancer occurs locally or metastasizes to the neighboring lymphatic tissue is directly related to the production of these two proteins. Based on the excessive synthesis of one protein and the below-average production of the other protein, the spread of cancer could be detected with an accuracy of 88 percent in a study of 65 patients.
Dave Hoon of the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica and his team used protein chips to examine tissue from lymph node biopsies. Lymph node metastases had excessive levels of a 4871 d alton protein and reduced levels of an 8596 d alton protein compared to he althy tissue. According to a database search, the first could be thymosin beta-10, which has already been linked to uncontrolled cell division and differentiation. The second could be a ubiquitin molecule linked to a positive prognosis in breast cancer that does not spread to the lymph nodes.
The researchers are now hoping for a better assessment of the risk potential and optimized therapy options. If this diagnostic value can be confirmed in further tests, a corresponding protein profile could contribute to the early detection of the risk of metastases. Then, in the future, these proteins could be analyzed as part of the first tumor biopsies and the patient could possibly be spared a further operation in which lymphatic tissue is removed. According to the scientists, however, the identity of the proteins still has to be clarified beyond doubt. (bf)