There are changes in the levels of certain proteins in women’s blood two years before they are diagnosed with breast cancer. A study by scientists from Leiden University is presented at the 13th European Breast Cancer Conference.
The TESTBREAST study was initiated in 2011. It involved 1,174 women at high risk of developing breast cancer. Women whose immediate family members had it as well as carriers of certain genetic variants had a high risk of breast cancer.
Patients had blood samples taken at least once a year during the screening because of their high risk of developing cancer.
Researchers used mass spectrometry to determine levels of various proteins in the women’s blood. They looked for both differences between different women and changes that occur in women over time.
So far, the researchers have conducted a detailed analysis of 30 blood samples taken over time from three women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as from three women without cancer. The scientists identified six proteins which had higher or lower levels in the women who were ill. And the changes began one to two years before diagnosis.
Now, the scientists intend to test their findings on a larger group of women. If further research confirms their findings, it will make it possible to develop testing for early cancer diagnosis, in which the chances of survival are maximized.