Biomarkers could tag breast cancer recurrence earlier

Cancer is a tough diagnosis to deal with, and it's even harder when the disease comes back. With breast cancer there's about a one in 5 chance within 10 years of that occurring. The earlier these recurrences are detected and treated, the better. To do this, physicians need tests that are more sensitive than current biomarkers, such as CA 27.29.

In a presentation at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, a team of researchers from Purdue University and Matrix-Bio reported on a group of markers that would be used alongside CA 27.29 to improve the chance of spotting breast cancer recurrence. They created a panel of 9 biomarkers by screening the blood of breast cancer survivors and looking at the metabolites that could be linked to the disease. They have used an independent set of about 100 patient samples.

"Our markers detect twice as many recurrences as the CA marker does at the same specificity. They also detect cancer recurrence earlier, about 11-12 months sooner than existing tests. They accomplish this with blood samples, rather than biopsies, with less discomfort to patients," says Purdue University's Daniel Raftery, who is also the founder of Matrix-Bio.

The new test is in clinical trials and could be available as early as this year. According to Raftery, it could also be useful in early diagnosis of primary cancer, as well as recurrences.

- read the abstract
- see the press release