Blood protein change signals breast cancer development, study finds

29 July 2011

A series of proteins in the blood that changes according to breast cancer development has been identified by researchers in the US.

Using a systems biology approach to detect outcomes and possible changes in the blood, scientists examined the HER2-positive form of breast cancer that tests positive for a protein known as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.

Findings, published in the Cancer Research journal, appeared to show that proteins corresponding to that particular type of breast cancer begin reacting long before the cancer was clinically detectable.

"The overall surprising thing we found was the degree to which the host responds to cancer early in the course of disease progression", reported Dr Christopher Kemp.

He added: "We found a treasure trove of proteins that are involved."

The study potentially offers opportunities for increased rates of cancer diagnosis if the disease could indeed be tracked from an earlier stage.

Research published earlier this week found that breast and ovarian cancer sufferers were being failed by many healthcare professionals in the US as doctors often missed opportunities to find out more from their patients.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 Pitteri, Sharon J., et al. "Tumor Microenvironment–Derived Proteins Dominate the Plasma Proteome Response during Breast Cancer Induction and Progression". Cancer Research. Monday August 1st 2011.

1 Goff, Barbara A. et al. "How are symptoms of ovarian cancer managed? A study of primary care physicians." Cancer: Journal of the American Cancer Society. Advanced copy published Monday August 1st 2011.

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