LPC as a Potential Tumor Marker for Recurrent Breast Cancer

Institution: University of California, Davis
Investigator(s): Helen Chew, M.D. -
Award Cycle: 2001 (Cycle VII) Grant #: 7IB-0035 Award: $100,000
Award Type: IDEA
Research Priorities
Detection, Prognosis and Treatment>Imaging, Biomarkers, and Molecular Pathology: improving detection and diagnosis



Initial Award Abstract (2001)
There are no current reliable blood tests to detect the recurrence of breast cancer, the most common cancer to affect American women. Although two such tests are commercially available, they are not accurate enough in detecting breast cancer to be useful. Early discovery of recurrent disease may allow a woman to be treated at a time when her tumor is small, increasing the chance of a response to treatment and minimizing side effects of the tumor. A reliable blood test may also be useful eventually for the initial detection of breast cancer.

We propose a new, innovative blood test to detect breast cancer by the measurement of a fat or lipid called lysophosphatidlycholine or LPC. We hypothesize that LPC levels measured from a blood sample will be able to distinguish women who have active breast cancer from those who do not, to predict recurrence of breast cancer, and to change in metastatic breast cancer with response to treatment.

Blood samples will be obtained in clinic from women diagnosed with breast cancer. Different groups of women with breast cancer will be studied including: women recently diagnosed with early breast cancer receiving chemotherapy or hormone therapy after their surgery; women diagnosed with breast cancer in the past being seen for routine follow up by their doctors; and women with recurrent metastatic disease receiving active treatment. Samples will also be obtained from completely, healthy age-matched women. LPC levels will be measured and compared among the study groups. Some groups will give a one-time blood sample while others may be asked to give a blood sample every 3 months for 18 months.

LPC belongs to a family of lipid compounds which play many different roles in the way our cells function. No role for LPC in breast cancer is known although early and highly speculative reports show that LPC levels are elevated in the blood of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer compared to healthy women. LPC levels may be a potential new method to detect breast cancer by a simple blood test. While there are no current routinely recommended tests to find recurrent breast cancer, survivors of breast cancer may benefit from a low-risk, reliable blood test.


Final Report (2005)
Currently, there are no reliable blood tests to detect the recurrence of breast cancer, the most common cancer to affect American women. Although two such tests are commercially available, they are not accurate enough in detecting breast cancer to be useful. These blood tests, or tumor markers, are specifically not recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology for screening, diagnosis, staging, or surveillance after primary treatment. However, a blood test with high sensitivity and specificity to disease may be useful. Early discovery of recurrent disease may allow a woman to be treated at a time when her tumor is small, increasing the chance of a response to treatment and minimizing the side effects of the tumor. A reliable blood test may eventually aid in the initial detection of breast cancer.

We proposed a new, innovative blood test to detect breast cancer by the measurement of a fat or lipid called lysophosphatidlycholine or LPC. Preliminary results suggested that LPC may be elevated in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer compared to healthy controls. We hypothesized that LPC levels measured from a blood sample will be able to distinguish women who have active breast cancer from those who do not, to predict recurrence of breast cancer, and to change in metastatic breast cancer with response to treatment.

Progress toward specific aims. We have enrolled 98 participants that either have a diagnosis of breast cancer or are healthy controls. Our projected accrual was 91 patients. Among patients with breast cancer, these include: 1. 57 women recently diagnosed with early breast cancer receiving chemotherapy or hormone therapy after their surgery 2. 19 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the past being seen for routine follow up by their doctors 3. 9 women with recurrent metastatic disease receiving active treatment

We also have 12 healthy women serving as controls. Serial LPC levels are available in 28 patients. In addition, all participants have completed a baseline questionnaire. LPC levels will be correlated with clinical outcome.

During this period of this grant we were able to progress as far as completing enrollment and drawing the required blood samples. We plan to analyze the samples for LPC levels with other support.

No role for LPC in breast cancer is known although early and highly speculative reports show that LPC levels are elevated in the blood of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer compared to healthy women. If LPC levels are found to correlate with recurrent breast cancer in our study, future directions may include measuring LPC levels in response to treatment and in women at high-risk of developing breast cancer. LPC levels may be a potential new method to detect breast cancer by a simple blood test.