Background: The sensitivity of mammography for the detection of small lesions, including node-negative early-stage (T1N0) primary breast cancer (PBC) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), is significantly decreased in young patients. From a clinical standpoint, an inconclusive mammogram reflects the inability of clinicians to confidently decide whether patients should be referred for biopsy or for follow-up with repeat imaging.
Methods: Specific ELISAs were developed for a panel of 13 well-recognized breast autoantigens (HSP60, FKBP52, PRDX2, PPIA, MUC1, GAL3, PAK2, P53, CCNB1, PHB2, RACK1, RUVBL1, and HER2). Circulating autoantibody levels were measured in a cohort of 396 serum samples from histologically confirmed DCIS (n = 87) or T1N0 PBC (n = 153) and healthy controls (n = 156).
Results: Individually, antibodies against CCNB1, FKBP52, GAL3, PAK2, PRDX2, PPIA, P53, and MUC1 demonstrated discriminatory power between breast cancer and healthy control groups. At 90% sensitivity, the overall combined specificity of the autoantibody serum screening test was 42%. Adjustment for higher sensitivities of 95% and 99% resulted in 30% and 21% specificities, respectively (33% and 18% in T1N0 PBC and 28% and 21% in DCIS). Finally, in patients with node-negative early-stage breast cancer younger than 50 years, the autoantibody assay exhibited 59% specificity with a fixed sensitivity at 90%.
Conclusions: Our autoantibody panel allows accurate detection of early breast cancer and DCIS, notably in younger patients.
Impact: Clinical assessment of this autoantibody panel displays a potential to facilitate clinical management of early-stage breast cancer detection in cases of inconclusive mammogram.
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