We envisage a future where a blood or urine home test kit is available so that people can be monitored for secondary breast cancer by providing test results to doctors without the burden of hospital or doctors visits.
An easy-to-use home test would enable earlier diagnosis, easier monitoring of the tumour response during treatment, and could provide peace of mind after treatment through routine checks for recurrence.
Secondary cancers are very hard to detect because tumours have to have grown to a certain size to be seen using current visual diagnosis methods (MRI, CT, X-ray scans and ultrasound), and they can arise in one or more places in the body (such as the lungs, bone, liver and brain) sometimes years after the primary breast tumour has been treated.
Blood tests do exist for secondary breast cancer, but a better test is needed that is more sensitive (can detect breast cancer sooner than current tests) and more accurate (does not give a positive result if the true result is negative and vice versa).
Researchers at the University of Westminster have looked at blood samples from over 3000 breast cancer patients that were collected in the DietCompLyf study, to look for new proteins that could act as biological markers of secondary spread and be useful in the design of new tests or to improve upon current diagnosis methods.
Using the latest ‘GlycoStation’ technology, they identified a protein called CDH-5 as a potential biomarker of secondary breast cancer.
As well as being presented at national cancer conferences, several scientific publications have been produced describing this work and can be found using the links below. Investigations into this protein and its potential to diagnose secondary disease before current tests allow, are ongoing.
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
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
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
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
Functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes and their binding to cancer cells Madani. SY, Tan A, Dwek MV, Seifalian AM. International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012; 7:1-10
Beyond the genome and proteome: targeting protein modifications in cancer Markiv A, Rambaruth NDS, Dwek MV. Current Opinions in Pharmacology 2012 Aug;12(4):408-13
Cell surface glycan-lectin interactions in tumor metastasis Rambaruth ND, Dwek MV. Acta Histochem. 2011 Oct;113(6):591-600
Identification cloning and characterization of two N-acetylgalactosamine binding lectins from the albumen gland of Helix pomatia Markiv A, Peiris D, Curley P, Odell M, Dwek MV. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2011 Jun 10;286(23):20260-6