Evaluating Serum Markers for Hormone Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer.


Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in females worldwide. Death rates have been declining, largely as a result of early detection through mammography and improved treatment, but mammographic screening is controversial because of over-diagnosis of breast disease that might not require treatment, and under-diagnosis of cancer in women with dense breasts. Breast cancer screening could be improved by pairing mammography with a tumor circulating marker, of which there are currently none. Given genomic similarities between the basal breast cancer subtype and serous ovarian cancer, and given our success in identifying circulating markers for ovarian cancer, we investigated the performance in hormone receptor-negative breast cancer detection of both previously identified ovarian serum markers and circulating markers associated with transcripts that were differentially expressed in breast cancer tissue compared to healthy breast tissue from reduction mammaplasties.

We evaluated a total of 15 analytes (13 proteins, 1 miRNA, 1 autoantibody) in sera drawn at or before breast cancer surgery from 43 breast cancer cases (28 triple-negative-TN-and 15 hormone receptor-negative-HRN-/ HER2-positive) and 87 matched controls.

In the analysis of our whole cohort of breast cancer cases, autoantibodies to TP53 performed significantly better than the other selected 14 analytes showing 25.6% and 34.9% sensitivity at 95% and 90% specificity respectively with AUC: 0.7 (p<0.001). The subset of 28 TN cancers showed very similar results. We observed no correlation between anti-TP53 and the 14 other markers; however, anti-TP53 expression correlated with Body-Mass-Index. It did not correlate with tumor size, positive lymph nodes, tumor stage, the presence of metastases or recurrence.

None of the 13 serum proteins nor miRNA 135b identified women with HRN or TN breast cancer. TP53 autoantibodies identified women with HRN breast cancer and may have potential for early detection, confirming earlier reports. TP53 autoantibodies are long lasting in serum but may be affected by storage duration. Autoantibodies to TP53 might correlate with Body-Mass-Index.

  • Bergan L
  • Giraldez MD
  • Schummer M
  • Tewari M
  • Thorpe J
  • Urban N
PubMed ID
Appears In
PLoS One, 2015, 10 (11)