Nottingham, Nov (SF).- Up to five years before there are clinical signs of breast cancer, an analytic would be able to show the body’s immune response to proteins called antigens that cancer cells produce.

A team of researchers from the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom) found that the antigens produced by cancer cells could be good indicators of the presence of cancer. The researchers developed panels of antigens associated with breast cancer tumors to see if there is an immune response from the body (autoantibodies).

In the study, which was recently presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference 2019 held in Glasgow (United Kingdom), the research group took blood samples from 90 women at the time of being diagnosed with breast cancer and compared them with samples belonging to another 90 women, this time without the disease.

Next, they examined the samples with the intention of detecting autoantibodies against the 40 antigens associated with breast cancer tumors and also against 27 antigens that were not known if they were related to the disease.


The researchers tried to analyze panels of five, seven and nine antigens to observe the body’s immune response. The panel of nine tumor-associated antigens showed the best results and correctly identified the disease in 37% of the samples of patients with breast cancer. In the samples of healthy patients, it was 79% correct.

Although researchers are happy with the results obtained, they open the door to early detection of breast cancer through a simple blood test, they recognize that they need to develop and validate the test further. In this sense, they are currently analyzing samples from 800 patients in a panel of nine antigens.

According to Alfattani, a PhD student in the group of the research group that has participated in the NCRI 2019 Conference, the blood test would be a non-invasive test, cheaper and easily implemented compared to current methods of breast cancer prevention. If the program is 100% funded, the researchers testify that in four or five years the test would be a reality.

Similar tests for the early detection of lung, pancreas, colorectal and cancer tumors are being studied at the Center of Excellence for Cancer Autoimmunity of the University of Nottingham School, to which this research group belongs. liver, the most frequent next to breast cancer.

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