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Biomarkers Linked to Breast Cancer Metastases

Two proteins isolated from tumors associated with axillary lymph node metastasis

TUESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Two metal-binding polypeptides isolated from primary breast cancer tumors are associated with a significantly increased risk for axillary lymph node metastasis, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of Cancer Research.

Taku Nakagawa, Ph.D., of the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif., and colleagues evaluated protein expression differences between primary breast cancers with and without axillary lymph node metastasis using frozen sections from 65 patients. ProteinChip arrays were used to create proteomic profiles. Unique protein peaks and confirmed axillary nodal disease along with clinicopathologic factors were correlated. From these analyses, two metal-binding polypeptides at 4,871 Da and 8,596 Da were identified as significant risk factors.

Axillary lymph nodal metastasis was seen in 24 patients (37 percent), 41 patients (63 percent) did not show nodal spread. Age, histologic grade and type, and hormone receptor status were not related to nodal metastasis. The only clinicopathologic factor that correlated with nodal metastasis was lymphovascular invasion. Patients with two and more positive axillary lymph node or non-sentinel lymph node metastases had a significantly increased peak at 4,871 Da compared to patients with negative axillary lymph node findings.

"ProteinChip array analysis identified differential protein peaks in primary breast cancers that predict the presence and number of axillary lymph node metastases and non-sentinel lymph node status," the authors conclude.

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