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Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for prostate-specific antigen may be a prognostic indicator in breast cancer

Abstract

Among women with node-negative breast cancer and small tumours, it is important to identify those with tumours that will recur, so that they may receive adjuvant therapy, while sparing those with tumours that will not recur the hazards of adjuvant treatment. A reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) may be used to identify circulating metastatic cells in patients with prostate cancer. Approximately 30% of breast cancer cells also produce PSA. Therefore, we tested the PSA RT-PCR assay on blood specimens from women with breast cancer. We evaluated 78 women at Mount Sinai Medical Center with histologically confirmed breast cancer. Venous blood (5 cm3) from the women was collected in ethylene diaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-treated collection tubes and approximately 400 ng of RNA from each sample was subjected to an RT-PCR. We were able to detect the amplified PSA fragment in 18 of 78 women with breast cancer; 7 of the 18 women with the PSA fragment had localised, small, node-negative tumours, both oestrogen receptor (ER) positive and ER negative. We could not detect the amplified PSA fragment in 20 normal women and 22 normal men. We conclude that PSA RT-PCR may be a useful method for determining the presence of circulating metastatic cells in some women with node-negative breast cancer, and therefore the potential for these women to develop recurrent disease and thus benefit from adjuvant therapy.

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Lehrer, S., Terk, M., Piccoli, S. et al. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for prostate-specific antigen may be a prognostic indicator in breast cancer. Br J Cancer 74, 871–873 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1038/bjc.1996.450

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/bjc.1996.450

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