Detection of minimal residual disease in the peripheral blood of breast cancer patients, with a multi marker (Mgb-1, mgb-2, ck-19 and ny-br-1) assay

Suzy E. Meijer, Olga Klebanov-Akopyn, Vera Pavlov, Shachar Laks, David Hazzan, Aviram Nissan, Douglas Zippel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Minimal residual disease (MRD) refers to micrometastases that are undetectable by conventional means and is a potential source of disease relapse. This study aimed to detect the presence of breast cancer (BC) biomarkers (MGB-1, MGB-2, CK-19, NY-BR-1) using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of BC patients and the impact of a positive assay on clinical outcome. Patients and Methods: Patients in the analysis included females >18 years of age with biopsy-proven carcinoma of the breast. A 10 mL sample of venous blood was obtained from 10 healthy controls and 25 breast cancer patients. Comparisons of peripheral blood markers were made with clinicopathological variables. Results: High-quality RNA was extracted from all samples with a mean RNA concentration of 224.8±155.3 ng/µL. Each of the molecular markers examined was highly expressed in the primary breast tumors (n = 3, positive controls) with none of the markers detected in healthy negative controls. The NY-BR-1 marker was expressed in one (4%) patient with metastatic disease with no MGB-1 and MGB-2 detected in any sample derived from the study patients. The CK-19 marker was detected in 16 (64%) of the BC cases. No correlation was found between CK-19 expression and tumor stage (P = 0.07) or nodal status (P = 0.32). No correlation was identified in the BC patients between CK-19 expression and receptor status in the BC primary tumor. Conclusion: This study showed high expression of all 4 markers NY-BR-1, MGB-1, MGB-2 and CK-19 in the PBMCs derived from breast cancer patients. CK-19 was detected in 64% of the stage I–III cases operated with curative intent, the only recurrent events occurring in the CK-19-positive cases. Our data confirm the need to enhance techniques for detection of MRD, which may better predict patients at risk for relapse. Keywords: breast cancer, circulating tumor cells, cancer biomarkers, early detection, predictive potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-624
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer: Targets and Therapy
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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