Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early stages breast cancer could soon be diagnosed from blood samples

Date:
November 14, 2013
Source:
Houston Methodist
Summary:
A new 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.

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.

There are currently no inexpensive laboratory tests for the early detection of breast cancer, providing the impetus for researchers around the world to invent them.

"What we are trying to create is a non-invasive test that profiles what's going on at a tissue site without having to do a biopsy or costly imaging," Hu said. "We think this could be better for patients and -- if we are successful -- a lot cheaper than the technology that exists. While there's more to the cost of administering a test than materials alone, right now those materials only cost about $10 per test."

CPN is an enzyme that modifies proteins after the proteins are first created. Past studies have only shown the enzyme is more active in lung cancer patients. The present report in Clinical Chemistry is the first to show CPN isn't merely more active in breast cancer patients, but there's more of it.

The technology being developed by Hu's group combines nanotechnology and advanced mass spectrometry to separate and detect extremely low levels of small proteins (peptides) created by CPN. These peptides are believed to originate in or near cancerous cells, eventually making their way into the bloodstream.

In animal models and human biopsies, Hu's group first determined the presence of breast cancer tissue, characterized each sample's stage of development, and looked at how much CPN was being expressed. Blood samples were also taken from each individual.

Blood serum proteins were separated on a nanoporous silica chip dotted with four nanometer holes, which captured and isolated smaller proteins for spectrographic analysis. Using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, the researchers analyzed what remained for the light signatures of six peptides known to be created by CPN.

The researchers compared the stages of breast cancer tissue development in previously diagnosed patients to the presence of CPN-created peptides in their blood. They found all six peptides were at detectably higher levels, as early as breast cancer's first pathologic stage. (That stage is defined as having cancerous cells and a tumor of 2 cm or smaller, or no tumor at all.) The researchers also found that CPN peptides were at detectably higher levels in the blood of mice, compared to controls, just two weeks after the introduction of breast cancer tissue.

Interestingly, CPN activity dropped significantly over time in mice over the eight week study period, suggesting the blood test as currently configured may not work as well in detecting later stages of breast cancer. Hu said he plans to investigate the phenomenon.

"Even at the eighth week, CPN activity was still significantly higher than baseline," Hu said. "However, we suspect the activity of different enzymes goes up and down as the disease progresses. We will be looking at how we might add known and future biomarkers to the blood test to increase its robustness and accuracy."

Current means for the early detection of breast cancer are expensive and are not generally recommend for prevention by the American Cancer Society. Rather, the society recommends healthy women age 40 and older have a mammogram every year and work with their doctors to assess their individual risks of developing the disease. Prior to age 40, the society recommends women have a clinical breast exam whenever they visit their doctors, or else every three years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Houston Methodist. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Li, Y. Li, T. Chen, A. S. Kuklina, P. Bernard, F. J. Esteva, H. Shen, M. Ferrari, Y. Hu. Circulating Proteolytic Products of Carboxypeptidase N for Early Detection of Breast Cancer. Clinical Chemistry, 2013; DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2013.211953

Cite This Page:

Houston Methodist. "Early stages breast cancer could soon be diagnosed from blood samples." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114113621.htm>.
Houston Methodist. (2013, November 14). Early stages breast cancer could soon be diagnosed from blood samples. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114113621.htm
Houston Methodist. "Early stages breast cancer could soon be diagnosed from blood samples." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114113621.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins