Detection of Methylated Circulating DNA as Noninvasive Biomarkers for Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Internationally, breast cancer is the most common female cancer, and is induced by a combination of environmental, genetic, and epigenetic risk factors. Despite the advancement of imaging techniques, invasive sampling of breast epithelial cells is the only definitive diagnostic procedure for patients with breast cancer. To date, molecular biomarkers with high sensitivity and specificity for the screening and early detection of breast cancer are lacking. Recent evidence suggests that the detection of methylated circulating cell-free DNA in the peripheral blood of patients with cancer may be a promising quantitative and noninvasive method for cancer diagnosis. Methylation detection based on a multi-gene panel, rather than on the methylation status of a single gene, may be used to increase the sensitivity and specificity of breast cancer screening. In this review, the results of 14 relevant studies, investigating the efficacy of cell-free DNA methylation screening for breast cancer diagnosis, have been summarized. The genetic risk factors for breast cancer, the methods used for breast cancer detection, and the techniques and limitations related to the detection of cell-free DNA methylation status, have also been reviewed and discussed. From this review, we conclude that the analysis of peripheral blood or other samples to detect differentially methylated cell-free DNA is a promising technique for use in clinical settings, and may improve the sensitivity of screening for both, early detection and disease relapse, and thus improve the future prognosis of patients with breast cancer.
J Breast Cancer . 2017 Mar;20(1):12-19. doi: 10.4048/jbc.2017.20.1.12. Epub 2017 Mar 24.