Two Proteins linked to Inflamation Found to Indicate Poor Outcomes in Breast Cancer Patients

The results of a new study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on May 26, 2009, suggest that those breast cancer patients with elevated levels of two proteins were two to three times more likely to die and/or have their cancer return compared to those patients that didn’t have the elavated levels. Data from the the Health, Eating, Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL) study was used.  The findings did not vary significantly based on other major factors like a “patient’s age, tumor stage, race, body mass index, or history of previous cardiovascular issues.”

The two proteins are l C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA). These biological markers are indicators of inflamation. When inflamation occurs, CRP and SAA accumulate in the blood.  The study found that Women with high levels of SAA were three times as likely to die sooner.

Robert Croyle, Ph.D., director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences comments: “Inflammation has been associated with several modifiable risk factors, such as obesity, low physical activity, and cardiovascular disease, all of which can affect a cancer survivor’s prognosis. Investigating the effect that reductions in these markers, through medications or lifestyle changes, can have on breast cancer recurrence and survival will be an important next step.”

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