Levels of circulating cell-free serum DNA in benign and malignant breast lesions

Int J Biol Markers. Apr-Jun 2007;22(2):95-9.


Purposes of the study: We analyzed circulating cell-free DNA in the serum of patients with benign and malignant breast disease and in healthy individuals to determine its diagnostic value.

Basic procedures: Serum samples were obtained from 50 healthy individuals, 33 patients with malignant breast disease and 32 patients with benign breast disease. Circulatory DNA was extracted from serum samples. Cell-free DNA was quantified by real-time quantitative PCR for the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) gene. Tissue samples from patients with malignant and benign breast lesions were histopathologically examined.

Main findings: The mean levels of circulating cell-free DNA in serum samples were 41,149 genome equivalents (GE)/mL in patients with malignant disease, 30,826 GE/mL in patients with benign disease, and 13,267 GE/mL in healthy individuals. Healthy individuals had significantly lower levels of cell-free DNA than patients with malignant or benign breast disease (p=0.001, p=0.031). No significant difference was observed between malignant and benign disease. There was a correlation between cell-free DNA levels and tumor size but not with other tumor characteristics.

Principal conclusion: Our results suggest that levels of circulating cell-free DNA in serum could have diagnostic value to discriminate between healthy individuals and patients with breast lesions but not between patients with malignant and benign breast lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Diseases / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification
  • DNA / blood*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Neoplasm / blood*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / isolation & purification
  • Genome, Human
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reference Values


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • DNA
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases