Detection of activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule in the serum of breast cancer patients and implications for prognosis

Oncology. 2012;82(6):305-12. doi: 10.1159/000337222. Epub 2012 May 3.


Objective: Conflicting results have been reported about activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) expression in breast cancer and its prognostic value. Little is known about the role of ALCAM levels in the serum of breast cancer patients.

Methods: We analyzed soluble ALCAM (sALCAM) levels in the serum of 157 primary breast cancer patients and 48 healthy women by ELISA. In addition, we determined ALCAM protein expression by Western blot analysis (n = 120) and mRNA expression by cDNA microarray analysis (n = 115) in the tumor tissue of corresponding patients.

Results: sALCAM levels differed between patients and healthy controls (median 24.2 vs. 18.9 ng/ml, p < 0.001). We observed no correlation between serum levels and protein or mRNA expression in corresponding tumors (r < 0.1, p = n.s.). sALCAM levels were not correlated with histological type, grading, tumor stage, or patient age, but elevated sALCAM levels were associated with shorter disease-free survival (HR = 1.97, 95% CI 1.01-3.2, p = 0.043).

Conclusions: Our results indicate that sALCAM can be detected in the serum of patients with primary breast cancer. Elevated serum levels might indicate more aggressive tumor behavior as they might be an independent factor for a worse prognosis in breast cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, CD / blood*
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / biosynthesis
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / blood*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / genetics
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Fetal Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Fetal Proteins / blood*
  • Fetal Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics


  • ALCAM protein, human
  • Antigens, CD
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Fetal Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger