Elevated plasma levels of transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) in patients with advanced breast cancer: association with disease progression

Eur J Cancer. 2003 Mar;39(4):454-61. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(02)00502-6.


We examined the association between an elevated plasma TGF-beta 1 level and the disease progression of advanced breast cancer (BC) patients (n = 44). TGF-beta 1 levels were detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Platelet carryover and in vitro platelet activation in our plasma samples was assessed and found to be insignificant. Plasma TGF-beta 1 values were significantly elevated (P < 0.05) in stage IIIB/IV patients (median value: 2.40 ng/ml, range: 0.13-8.48 ng/ml, n = 44) compared with healthy donors (median value: 1.30 ng/ml, range: 0.41-4.93 ng/ml, n = 36). Although pronounced in metastatic patients, especially those who had been newly diagnosed, TGF-beta 1 elevation was independent of tumour mass, site of distant metastases, histopathological type, steroid receptor (SR) content and age of the BC patients. Follow-up of 6 patients indicated a relationship between the plasma TGF-beta 1 and the patient's response. This suggests that TGF-beta 1, may be a promising prognostic marker for breast cancer patients with advanced disease. Confirmatory large-scale studies are needed, particularly given the overlap of values between our different subgroups analysed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Factor 4 / metabolism
  • Postmenopause
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / blood*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • TGFB1 protein, human
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Platelet Factor 4