Breast Milk May Hold Key to Early Breast Cancer Detection

Spanish researchers have found that breast milk from breast cancer patients contains circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), which could be used to detect the disease early.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Discovery, was conducted by researchers at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Spain. The researchers analyzed breast milk and blood samples from 15 breast cancer patients diagnosed during pregnancy or postpartum, along with samples from healthy breastfeeding women.

They found that ctDNA of tumour origin was identified in breast milk samples from 13 of the 15 breast cancer patients, whereas ctDNA was only found in one of their blood samples. This suggests that breast milk could be a more sensitive source for early breast cancer detection than blood.

The researchers also developed a gene panel that can be used to detect common mutations in breast cancer patients under 45 years old. This panel demonstrated a sensitivity of over 70%, making it a promising tool for early breast cancer diagnosis.

The study’s findings could lead to the development of a new screening test for breast cancer that is more sensitive and less invasive than traditional methods, such as mammograms.

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