The International journal of biological markers vol:23 issue:3 pages:161-168
Numerous studies have linked cathepsins and their inhibitor cystatin C to tumor invasion and metastasis. We examined whether cathepsin B, cathepsin H, cathepsin X and cystatin C could be detected in sera from women with earlystage or inflammatory breast cancer and whether they correlated with clinicopathological characteristics. Preoperative serum was obtained from 176 patients with early-stage breast cancer (tumor size ≤5 cm, negative lymph nodes) and 31 patients with inflammatory breast cancer. Cathepsin and cystatin C levels were measured by ELISA. The patient and tumor characteristics under study were age at diagnosis, menopausal status, tumor size, tumor grade, and steroid hormone receptor status. Serum cathepsin B levels were significantly lower in patients with poorly differentiated tumors. High cystatin C levels were associated with tumor size, postmenopausal status and patient age. Interestingly, significantly lower levels of cathepsin X and H were found in patients with inflammatory breast cancer, a trend also observed for cathepsin B and cystatin C. In conclusion, our results show a limited association of cathepsins B, H, X and cystatin C with established prognostic parameters. These data are promising and encourage future analysis of the clinical outcome of our patients in order to examine the potential prognostic value of these biomarkers. Further, this study indicates a role for cathepsin X and H in inflammatory breast cancer.