TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2012) Using two cell surface markers found to be highly expressed in breast cancer lymph node metastases, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, working with colleagues at other institutions, have developed targeted, fluorescent molecular imaging probes that can non-invasively detect breast cancer lymph node metastases. The new procedure could spare breast cancer patients invasive and unreliable sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsies and surgery-associated negative side effects.
Their study was published in a recent issue of Clinical Cancer Research (18:1), a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research.
"The majority of breast cancer patients, up to 74 percent, who undergo SLN biopsy are found to be negative for axillary nodal, or ALN, metastases," said corresponding author David L. Morse, Ph.D., an associate member at Moffitt whose research areas include experimental therapeutics and diagnostic imaging. "Determining the presence or absence of ALN metastasis is critical to breast cancer staging and prognosis. Because of the unreliability of the SLN biopsy and its potential for adverse effects, a noninvasive, more accurate method to assess lymph node involvement is needed."
The authors note that the postoperative complications to the SLN biopsy can include lymphedema, seroma formation, sensory nerve injury and limitations in patient range of motion. In addition, biopsies fail to identify disease in axillary lymph nodes in five to 10 percent of patients.
In developing targeted molecular probes to identify breast cancer in axillary lymph nodes, the research team from Moffitt, the University of Arizona and University of Florida used two surface cell markers CAIX and CAXII. CAIX is a cell surface marker known to be "highly and broadly expressed in breast cancer lymph node metastases" and absent in normal tissues.
CAIX and CAXII are both integral plasma membrane proteins with lar
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H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute