Recommendations are presented for the routine clinical use of serum and tissue-based markers in the diagnosis and management of patients with breast cancer. Their low sensitivity and specificity preclude the use of serum markers such as the MUC-1 mucin glycoproteins (CA 15.3, BR 27.29) and carcinoembryonic antigen in the diagnosis of early breast cancer. However, serial measurement of these markers can result in the early detection of recurrent disease as well as indicate the efficacy of therapy. Of the tissue-based markers, measurement of estrogen and progesterone receptors is mandatory in the selection of patients for treatment with hormone therapy, while HER-2 is essential in selecting patients with advanced breast cancer for treatment with Herceptin (trastuzumab). Urokinase plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 are recently validated prognostic markers for lymph node-negative breast cancer patients and thus may be of value in selecting node-negative patients that do not require adjuvant chemotherapy.
Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.