This differentiation could improve diagnosis, lead to more effective individualised treatments, and provide the ability to monitor therapeutic results in real time, say researchers in charge at the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center.

Their study provides new, detailed analysis of seven signature molecular markers found in breast cancer. These are multiple signature markers for the inflammation, cell cycle control, cell-cell contact and tissue repair processes of breast cancer, and can be targeted for detection in testing for the disease.

Their research also reveals that the levels of these markers detected can differentiate malignant from normal breast tissue. Additionally, they found replicas of the markers in the peripheral blood immune cells of breast cancer patients, which could potentially alleviate the need for tissue biopsies.

"Compared to mammography and physical examination, which rely on purely structural characteristics, sensitive molecular techniques revealing tissue function would be more useful in detecting early stage breast cancer, when treatment is most effective,” says co-investigator Alonzo Walker, M.D., professor of surgery and chief of general surgery at the Medical College.

The test they plan to develop is a real-time, multiplex, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, a technique now widely used in the identification of many diseases. PCR amplifies targeted genetic material in cells for detection by specific antibodies. In the multiplex format, it can be designed to detect more than one target in the same test.

In the study, expression of all seven markers was significantly higher in the cancerous than in the normal tissue, with one of the markers present only in the cancerous tissue. Of the remaining six markers expressed in the cancerous tissues, the levels of some varied with the diagnosis.

MEDICA.de; Source: Medical College of Wisconsin