Researchers: Dr Anthony Leathem and Dr Miriam Dwek
Location: University of Westminster, London
Dates: 1997 – 2014 Status: Complete
Research Theme: Detection
Our DietCompLyf (DCL) study at the University of Westminster, London, initiated by our founder Dr Anthony Leathem and led by Dr Miriam Dwek, aimed to explore the effects of diet and lifestyle on breast cancer recurrence and patient survival.
As part of this study, biological samples of blood and urine were collected annually to form the DietCompLyf biobank with the aim of identifying biological markers (biomarkers) that indicate differences between those who develop secondary breast cancer and those who do not.
The DietCompLyf study was supported by the National Cancer Research Network and aimed to enrol over 3,000 breast cancer patients from 56 centres across the UK. Each patient participated from one year post-diagnosis of primary breast cancer and will was on active follow-up for 5 years. Data collected annually included blood and urine samples, which formed the Biobank, and detailed lifestyle data including 7 day food diaries, food frequency questionnaires (FFQ), lifestyle and general health questionnaires.
Biomarkers are biological molecules that alter during disease conditions, often months or years in advance of clinical symptoms becoming noticeable. The earlier these biomarkers are detected, the quicker individuals at risk can be identified, monitored or receive treatment. Secondary spread breast cancer is currently very difficult to detect early due to the variation in symptoms that occur depending on where secondary tumours have formed. Treating diseases early, especially cancer is linked to improving patient survival.
Potential benefit for patients
With secondary spread breast cancer being so difficult to detect our biobank aims to help identify biomarkers that can be developed for new diagnostic tests for the clinic, or even home monitoring kits that could help reduce patient anxiety about cancer recurrence.
Earlier detection and faster treatment administration will help improve patient survival.
Project Results and Impact
The resulting resource of linked biological samples and diet and lifestyle data across a longitudinal study of 5 years comprise one of the largest collections of its kind in the UK.
- 3390 women were recruited to the DCL study.
- Over 23,000 blood and urine samples were added to the DietCompLyf biobank.
- 1000 DNA samples have been shared with the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). This is a forum of international investigators who are combining information from many studies to identify gene mutations that give rise to breast cancer. This will help improve risk prediction and classification of gene variations in patient groups.
- Cadherin-5 has been identified as a potential biomarker that differentiates between those who develop secondary cancer and those that do not. Further research will be needed to assess this as a detection candidate.
- Serum immunoglobulin A1 (IgA1) in breast cancer patients has a different pattern of glycosylation (sugar expression) compared to healthy patients. This may be another useful biomarker that differentiates between those who develop secondary cancer and those that do not. Further research will be needed to assess this as a detection candidate.
Following on from the DietCompLyf study, our biobank will be located at Southampton University as part of our core research programme. We hope to promote this important resource for other breast cancer research. One such project is our ABC Discover project.
Serum IgA1 shows increased levels of α2,6-linked sialic acid in breast cancer. Hannah J. Lomax-Browne , Claire Robertson , Aristotelis Antonopoulos , Anthony J. C. Leathem , Stuart M. Haslam , Anne Dell & Miriam V. Dwek, (2019) The Royal Society Interface Focus 9(2).
Cadherin-5: a biomarker for metastatic breast cancer with optimum efficacy in oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancers with vascular invasion. Fry, S. A., C. E. Robertson, R. Swann and M. V. Dwek (2016) Br J Cancer 114(9): 1019-1026.
A targeted glycoproteomic approach identifies cadherin-5 as a novel biomarker of metastatic breast cancer. Simon A. Fry, John Sinclair, John F. Timms, Anthony J. Leathem, Miriam V. Dwek Cancer Lett. 2013 Jan 28;328(2):335-44.
BCAC publications which reference the DCL study are found here by searching for M. Dwek.
DCL-linked researchers :
Lectin array based strategies for identifying Metastasis-Associated changes in Glycosylation. Fry S, Afrough B, Leathem AJ, Dwek MV. Methods in Molecular Biology 2012; (878): 267-272.
Lectin microarray profiling of metastatic breast cancers. Fry SA, Afrough B, Lomax-Browne HJ, Timms JF, Velentzis LS, Leathem AJ.Glycobiology. 2011 Aug;21(8):1060-70.
A novel approach to determining the affinity of protein-carbohydrate interactions employing adherent cancer cells grown on a biosensor surface. Peiris D, Markiv A, Curley GP, Dwek MV. Biosens Bioelectron. 2012 May 15;35(1):160-6.
The lectin Helix pomatia agglutinin recognizes O-GlcNAc containing glycoproteins in human breast cancer. Rambaruth ND, Greenwell P, Dwek MV. Glycobiology. 2012 Jun;22(6):839-48.
2DE- based proteomics for the analysis of metastasis associated proteins. Metastasis Research Protocols. Dwek MV, Peiris D. Methods in Molecular Biology 2012; (878):111-120.