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Cancer Sci. 2012 Jun;103(6):1172-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2012.02267.x. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

High levels of DJ-1 protein in nipple fluid of patients with breast cancer.

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Department of Basic Pathology, National Defense Medical College, Saitama, Japan.


As we have previously demonstrated that some breast cancer cell lines secrete DJ-1 protein, we examined here whether breast cancer cells secrete DJ-1 protein in vivo. To this end, the levels of DJ-1 protein present in 136 specimens of nipple fluid was examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The average concentration of DJ-1 protein detected in diluted samples from 47 patients with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) was 22.4 ng/mL, while it was 18.6 ng/mL in 26 patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In contrast, the average DJ-1 concentration in samples from 63 women with benign lesions was 2.7 ng/mL, demonstrating that higher DJ-1 protein levels were detected in nipple fluid in the presence of cancer cells than in the presence of benign lesions (P < 0.0001). When a cut-off level of 3.0 ng/mL was applied, the higher level of DJ-1 was shown to be of significant clinical value for predicting the presence of breast cancer (85.9% specificity, 75% sensitivity; P < 0.0001). Multivariate logistic analysis that included established factors such as nipple discharge cytology, ductoscopic cytology, and carcinoembryonic antigen level further showed that the level of DJ-1 protein alone is of significant value for predicting the presence of breast cancer. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization also showed that the low expression of DJ-1 protein, despite high mRNA expression, was significantly correlated with high DJ-1 protein levels in the nipple fluid. These data indicate that breast cancer cells secrete DJ-1 protein in vivo, and that its level is a potential indicator of breast cancer in patients with nipple discharge.

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