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Cancer Res. 2012 Apr 15;72(8):1935-42. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3266. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Concordant release of glycolysis proteins into the plasma preceding a diagnosis of ER+ breast cancer.

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Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Although the identification of peripheral blood biomarkers would enhance early detection strategies for breast cancer, the discovery of protein markers has been challenging. In this study, we sought to identify coordinated changes in plasma proteins associated with breast cancer based on large-scale quantitative mass spectrometry. We analyzed plasma samples collected up to 74 weeks before diagnosis from 420 estrogen receptor (ER)(+) cases and matched controls enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative cohort. A gene set enrichment analysis was applied to 467 quantified proteins, linking their corresponding genes to particular biologic pathways. On the basis of differences in the concentration of individual proteins, glycolysis pathway proteins exhibited a statistically significant difference between cases and controls. In particular, the enrichment was observed among cases in which blood was drawn closer to diagnosis (effect size for the 0-38 weeks prediagnostic group, 1.91; P, 8.3E-05). Analysis of plasmas collected at the time of diagnosis from an independent set of cases and controls confirmed upregulated levels of glycolysis proteins among cases relative to controls. Together, our findings indicate that the concomitant release of glycolysis proteins into the plasma is a pathophysiologic event that precedes a diagnosis of ER(+) breast cancer.

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