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Provista Blog > What are the advantages of protein biomarkers in breast cancer detection?

Provista Blog

What are the advantages of protein biomarkers in breast cancer detection?

Posted by Provista Diagnostics on March 31, 2017

Proteins play multiple critical roles in the body, including acting as precursors for metabolic reactions, DNA replication, and intracellular and extracellular communication. The proteome is the entire set of proteins produced or modified by an organism or system. As a cell transforms from “nondiseased” to “diseased,” distinct changes occur that could act as early warning signals of breast cancer and be potentially detected through biomarkers. Protein biomarkers in breast cancer detection have multiple advantages including:



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Proteomic technologies can identify changes in protein expression or patterns of protein signatures in the blood specific to particular cancer, which Is useful in the search to identify cancer biomarkers. After genomics and transcriptomics, proteomics is the next step in the study of biological systems. It is more complicated than genomics because the genome generally experiences very litter variations, whereas the proteome differs from cell-to-cell and from time-to-time. Proteomic tests detect the presence or absence of disease-related biomarkers in real time.  Genetic testing, on the other hand, assesses the future risk of developing the disease. Some breast cancers are more aggressive than other and biomarkers can help determine when cancer is likely to grow rapidly and/or metastasize, thus influencing a treatment decision.

To truly identify if cancer can be ruled out, we need to understand the signal that each biomarker sends and combined with other biomarkers, can interpret messages from that combination.  Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease consisting of multiple subtypes (ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive lobular and ductal carcinomas to name a few). To improve breast cancer detection a diagnostic test in the form of a liquid biopsy tool could be instrumental in ruling out cancer at an early stage. The key to developing a test of this nature is to identify differential expression of proteins, establish their association with each other and then develop an algorithm that can predict accurately predict the absence of breast cancer, while recommending increased vigilance for the cancers potentially found.  The output of this process if the creation of a protein signature which is unique for a specific type of cancer.

Protein biomarkers in breast cancer detection allow for a liquid biopsy tool to rule out breast cancer more accurately and earlier, increasing a women’s chance of survival and decreasing unnecessary costs and anxiety. Though imaging is the current gold standard for breast cancer detection, it has its limitations. Thus, we must innovate and think of new ways to solve the old problems of imaging. That is why protein biomarkers must be considered as a new and innovative way to improve breast cancer detection.

Provista Diagnostics

Provista Diagnostics

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.