Image by Tony Hu lab
Early stages of breast cancer could soon be diagnosed from blood samples
What could someday be the first blood test for the early detection of breast cancer was shown in preliminary studies to successfully identify the presence of breast cancer cells from serum biomarkers, say the Houston Methodist Research Institute scientists who are developing the technology.
With a New York University Cancer Institute colleague, the researchers report in an upcoming Clinical Chemistry (now online) that the mixture of free-floating blood proteins created by the enzyme carboxypeptidase N accurately predicted the presence of early-stage breast cancer tissue in mice and in a small population of human patients.
"In this paper we link the catalytic activity of carboxypeptidase N to tumor progression in clinical samples from breast cancer patients and a breast cancer animal model," said biomedical engineer Tony Hu, Ph.D., who led the project. "Our results indicate that circulating peptides generated by CPN can serve as clear signatures of early disease onset and progression."
The technology is not yet available to the public, and may not be for years. More extensive clinical tests are needed, and those tests are expected to begin in early 2014.