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Improving breast cancer prognosis

Breast cancer is one of the leading, and most feared, types of cancer among women. In Europe, an average of about 160,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Favourable prognosis and complete recovery is based on early detection and appropriate, timely treatment of the tumour at the initial stages of the disease, while taking into account the aggressiveness that it displays. With these conditions in mind, a group of researchers from the University of Wales identified an antibody that facilitates breast cancer prognosis by constituting the basis of a new diagnostic test.
Improving breast cancer prognosis
Breast tumours differ from type to type according to their composition and degree of aggressiveness, and these differences suggest how the cancer will progress. As a result, doctors are compelled to make a crucial and potentially life-saving decision as to how combat the disease at the early stages of treatment. An important clue as to how tumours are likely to behave rests in their over-expression of metalloproteins.

Specifically, metalloproteins constituting a third of all existing proteins, are chemical combinations of protein atoms, such as oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, and hydrogen, along with metal ions, including calcium, iron, zinc, and copper. Some tumour cells are characterised by metalloprotein over-expression, and it has been found that this suggests tumour progression and, consequently, a poor patient prognosis.

This research group from the University of Wales has identified the monoclonal antibody E9 as an effective way of staining metalloproteins in routinely fixed and processed biopsy tissue. Thus, by distinguishing metalloproteins in such a way, the degree of tumour aggressiveness and progress can be assessed, and as a result this novel method can serve as the perfect foundation for a diagnostic test for breast cancer prognosis. The utilisation of monoclonal antibody E9 for this purpose has been established in many studies.

Ultimately, this innovation could bring hope to the hundreds of thousands of women who battle this disease.
Record Number: 80498 / Last updated on: 2005-09-18
Domain: Biology, Medicine
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