Provista Blog > How Can Protein Biomarkers Help Improve Breast Cancer Detection?
Protein biomarkers are made using the "Central Dogma of Biology," which states that DNA makes RNA and RNA make proteins. DNA encodes the genetic plan that determines all cellular progress and function. A strand of DNA consists of chemical bonds that form a double helix – the structure of which is often compared to a twisted ladder. The rungs of the ladder are pairs of nucleotide bases.
Proteins play many critical roles in the body, including acting as precursors for metabolic reactions, DNA replication, and the intracellular and extracellular communication. The proteome is the entire set of proteins produced or modified by an organism or system. So, how does this apply to detecting breast cancer? As a cell transforms from "non-diseased" (benign breast lesions) to "diseased" (invasive breast cancer/ductal carcinoma in situ), distinct changes occur that could act as early warning signals of breast cancer and potentially be detected through biomarkers.
A protein biomarker is defined by the National Cancer Institute, as a "biological molecule found in the blood, other bodily fluids or tissue that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, a condition, or disease." Biomarkers are produced both by normal cells and cancer cells but are often up-regulated or misregulated in cancer. Breast cancer biomarkers in particular are associated with multiple stages of disease progression and therefore, may play a significant role in clinical decision making. By examining biomarkers, diagnostic tests may be able to provide information about early tumor development to detect breast cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.
To streamline clinical decision making, implementing a novel molecular approach utilizing protein biomarkers can help complement current breast imaging technologies (mammography, breast MRI, whole breast ultrasound, tomosynthesis, etc.) and allow for early breast cancer detection at a more precise level. Tumors become invasive due to numerous cellular changes. The ability to detect these early warning signals of breast cancer (protein biomarkers) in the bloodstream poses significant promise for the early detection of breast cancer.
Protein biomarkers can help improve breast cancer detection by providing valuable information to help rule out breast cancer earlier and more accurately. To truly identify the presence or absence of breast cancer, we need to understand the signal that each biomarker sends, and combined with other biomarkers, can interpret coherent messages from that combination of biomarkers. To put it simply, biomarkers are like the letters of the alphabet. By assessing all the letters present we can unscramble the message for a signal as to the presence or absence of breast cancer. To learn more about protein biomarkers and their role in early breast cancer detection, download our free guide.
At Provista Diagnostics, our mission is to develop world-class diagnostic tests for indications in breast and gynecologic cancers. As a leading diagnostics company, our aim is to create, produce and market innovative solutions for unmet clinical needs. Our products and services help to diagnose diseases and inform better clinical decisions, thus enhancing women’s health and quality of life. We do this in a responsible and ethical manner with a commitment to excellence in every aspect of our business.