The diagnostic, predictive, and prognostic role of serum epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) levels in breast cancer

Tumour Biol. 2014 Sep;35(9):8849-60. doi: 10.1007/s13277-014-2151-2. Epub 2014 Jun 3.


The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical significance of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) in breast cancer (BC) patients. Ninety-six BC patients and 30 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled into this study. Pretreatment serum markers were determined by the solid-phase sandwich (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)). The median age at diagnosis was 48 years (range 29-80 years). Majority of the patients (71 %) had luminal subtype, and 38.5 % had metastatic disease. Twenty-nine (30 %) patients showed tumor progression, and 20 (21 %) patients died during follow-up. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 8.6 ± 1.7 and 35.5 ± 1.5 months, respectively. The baseline serum EpCAM levels of the patients were significantly higher than those of the controls (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the serum levels of VCAM-1 between the patients and controls (p = 0.47). No significant correlation was detected between the levels of the serum markers and other clinical parameters (p > 0.05). Patients with HER-2-positive and triple-negative tumors had significantly poorer PFS (p = 0.04 and p = 0.001, respectively), while metastatic disease and chemotherapy unresponsiveness had significantly adverse effect on OS analysis (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). Neither serum VCAM-1 levels nor serum EpCAM levels were identified to have a prognostic role on either PFS or OS (VCAM-1 p = 0.76 and p = 0.32; EpCAM p = 0.16 and p = 0.69, respectively). Even though any predictive or prognostic role could not be determined for both markers, serum levels of EpCAM were found to have diagnostic value in BC patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / blood*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • EPCAM protein, human
  • Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1