Aim: To evaluate the value of peripheral blood mammaglobin (MG) gene expression for diagnosis and prediction of metastasis in breast cancer patients.
Methods: MG expression was detected by nested reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction in the peripheral blood of 46 females (32 breast cancer, 12 benign breast lesions, 2 no breast abnormalities). In total 28 breast cancer patients were followed up through a period of 34 months for the development of metastasis.
Results: MG expression was detected in 16/32 (50%) breast cancer patients but not in patients with benign lesions or healthy participants. Five patients had metastasis at diagnosis. During the 34 months of follow up, five more MG-positive patients showed metastatic lesions and none of the MG negative patients who were followed up developed metastasis.
Conclusion: The study suggests blood MG expression is a specific molecular marker for detection of occult mammary carcinoma cells of patients with operable breast cancer. It might be of value as a predictor of subsequent metastasis. Large-scale studies and longer follow-up periods are needed.