Serum albumin and prealbumin do not predict recurrence in patients with breast cancer

Anticancer Res. 2014 Jul;34(7):3775-9.


Background: We have previously reported that prealbumin and albumin may be sensitive indicators of the risk of recurrent disease in colorectal cancer; however, the relationship between preoperative prealbumin and cancer survival has not been fully-elucidated. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between preoperative nutritional conditions, including prealbumin and albumin concentrations, and the risk of recurrence in cases with breast cancer.

Patients and methods: One hundred and fifty-seven patients who underwent breast surgery were analyzed in this study. The detection limit of the prealbumin assay was 22 mg/dl; patients were divided in analytical groups of <22 mg/dl and ≥22 mg/dl. The detection limit of the albumin assay was 4.0 g/dl; patients were divided in analytical groups of <4.0 g/dl and ≥4.0 g/dl. The clinical features of these cases were reviewed according to prealbumin and albumin levels, and statistical analysis was performed.

Results: Among 157 cases in this study, five (3.2%) had disease recurrence. Out of the eligible cases, 38 (24.2%) had decreased serum prealbumin and 19 (12.1%) had decreased serum albumin preoperatively. No statistically significant association of the preoperative prealbumin level was found with the clinicopathological variables. The only statistically significant association found for preoperative albumin level was age; age was higher in patients with low albumin levels. In short, we were unable to establish a connection between preoperative prealbumin or albumin and various clinical features, including recurrence, lymph node metastasis and tumor size.

Conclusion: Prealbumin and albumin may be sensitive indicators of disturbances in protein metabolism, and reflect inflammation activity and malnutrition. However, our results suggest that evaluation of serum prealbumin and albumin are not useful for predicting disease aggressiveness or recurrence in breast cancer.

Keywords: Prealbumin; albumin level; breast cancer; nutrition; recurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / blood
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Prealbumin / metabolism*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Prealbumin
  • Serum Albumin