Early Detection Research Network

Plasma biomarker profiles differ depending on breast cancer subtype but RANTES is consistently increased.

Current biomarkers for breast cancer have little potential for detection. We determined whether breast cancer subtypes influence circulating protein biomarkers.

A sandwich ELISA microarray platform was used to evaluate 23 candidate biomarkers in plasma samples that were obtained from subjects with either benign breast disease or invasive breast cancer. All plasma samples were collected at the time of biopsy, after a referral due to a suspicious screen (e.g., mammography). Cancer samples were evaluated on the basis of breast cancer subtypes, as defined by the HER2 and estrogen receptor statuses.

Ten proteins were statistically altered in at least one breast cancer subtype, including four epidermal growth factor receptor ligands, two matrix metalloproteases, two cytokines, and two angiogenic factors. Only one cytokine, RANTES, was significantly increased (P < 0.01 for each analysis) in all four subtypes, with areas under the curve (AUC) for receiver operating characteristic values that ranged from 0.76 to 0.82, depending on cancer subtype. The best AUC values were observed for analyses that combined data from multiple biomarkers, with values ranging from 0.70 to 0.99, depending on the cancer subtype. Although the results for RANTES are consistent with previous publications, the multi-assay results need to be validated in independent sample sets.

Different breast cancer subtypes produce distinct biomarker profiles, and circulating protein biomarkers have potential to differentiate between true- and false-positive screens for breast cancer.

Subtype-specific biomarker panels may be useful for detecting breast cancer or as an adjunct assay to improve the accuracy of current screening methods.

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Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev., 2011, 20 (7)