Biomarkers in Cancer Detection
How Do We Utilize Biomarkers In Cancer Detection?
Despite advancements in breast imaging modalities, the ability to accurately detect breast cancer remains challenging, especially when it comes to patients with abnormal or inconclusive imaging results. This leads to situation where patients might be under or over treated, which can result in extra costs and uncertainty to not only patients, but their healthcare providers and the healthcare system as a whole.
Innovations in science, specifically in the proteomic space, and cancer research have allowed us to detect cancer at the cellular level by identifying biomarkers in the blood. Proteomic technologies can recognize fluctuations and abnormalities in protein signatures in the blood exclusive to cancer types.
The use of biomarkers in cancer detection fulfill different roles across the continuum of care. By examining biomarkers, diagnostic tests may be able to deliver information about primary tumor progression to detect breast cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage, thus improving the survival rate of breast cancer. Biomarkers are also used to measure recurrence, as well as, prognosis.
How Are Biomarkers Used to Aid in Detection?
Different types of biomarkers can be helpful in managing patients in various settings. For example, when risk assessment is being considered, biomarkers are commonly allied with a predisposition to cancer and can inform a woman's future risk of developing breast cancer.
Another stage in which biomarkers can be used is to aid in the early detection of breast cancer. Biomarkers for detection and screening are real-time indicators of the presence of cancer, rather than an indicator of future risk for developing the disease. The body may respond to the presence of a tumor by creating and releasing immune factors (such as antibodies) or by emitting proteins or shedding circulating tumor cells and DNA fragments into the bloodstream.
When diagnosing a patient with breast cancer, biomarkers can also be beneficial. While the only way to confirm a breast cancer diagnosis is by biopsy, biomarkers can aid in detecting cancer early to ensure the diagnosis occurs at the earliest possible stage.
When looking at the prognosis stage of breast cancer prognostic biomarkers may provide information about a patient's expected outcome, regardless of therapy.
Some breast cancers are more aggressive than others and biomarkers can help determine which cancers may grow rapidly and/or metastasize.
Biomarkers may also be used to predict a patient's response to treatment or to determine the optimal drug dose or drug type used for breast cancer treatment. Since breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, different cancers can respond differently to the same treatment methods. Biomarkers can be used to predict and monitor a patient's breast cancer recurrence of the disease after treatment as well.
So, What Are the Goals of Using Biomarkers in Cancer Detection?
Using biomarkers for breast cancer detection aims to streamline clinical decision making. Biomarkers can provide additional biological information to the anatomical view provided by breast imaging. Cancer biomarkers are capable of detecting, predicting and confirming a diagnosis of breast cancer. These biomarkers in cancer detection can also assist in personalized prognosis and treatment strategies as well as recurring monitoring for the disease. New technology, such as Provista Diagnostics’ proprietary ProteoMark® Technology utilize protein biomarker signatures for diagnostic use to improve detection of breast cancer. This provides a great opportunity for improved breast cancer detection, by utilizing biomarkers along with imaging to detect cancer earlier and could ultimately help to increase survival rates.