AACR LogoWomen may find this news to be of extreme importance as it addresses the grave issue of breast cancer. Levels of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) could be high in the blood of women within 17 months before their breast cancer detection. At least this is what a study claims.

The objective of the study was to find out and authenticate blood markers that could potentially be utilized for the early diagnosis of breast cancer. The study was performed on roughly 420 estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients whose blood was taken in 17 months before their breast cancer diagnosis. The study authors appeared to corroborate potential markers in a similar, but fully independent collection of 198 cases and controls from the Women’s Health Initiative database.

One of the promising markers that was found out and could be confirmed was said to be EGFR. EGFR levels were believed to be considerably high among cases as opposed to controls. By and large, those with the maximum levels seemingly encompassed a 2.9-fold augmented threat of contracting breast cancer as against those with the lowest level.

When EGFR levels were assessed among present users of estrogen plus progestin hormone therapy, a much bigger nine-fold enlarged danger of developing breast cancer was seemingly noted. As a single marker among present estrogen plus progestin users, EGFR apparently encompassed specificity, the rate of true negative exams, of 90 percent and sensitivity, the rate of true positive tests, of roughly 31 percent as a breast cancer marker.

Christopher Li, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study, an associate member of the Epidemiology Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, commented, “While our results require confirmation and EGFR’s performance is insufficient for it to be used as a single marker, this study is unique in that no prior studies have validated a single breast cancer early detection biomarker specimen to the degree we have here. Our results suggest that there may indeed be detectable changes of proteins in blood within two years of making a clinical breast cancer diagnosis. Identification of these proteins could have a major impact on our ability to detect breast cancer early, when it is most treatable.”

EGFR is said to be part of the HER2 clan, which has apparently exhibited to be fairly significant in breast cancer. Particularly, augmented EGFR activity may augment the unrestrained development of cancer cells and EGFR is seemingly high in 20 percent to 81 percent of all human breast cancers. Numerous therapies targeting members of the HER2 family, counting EGFR, have supposedly already been cleared for cancer treatment.

The study was presented in the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010.