Use of autoantibodies in breast cancer screening and diagnosis

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and accounts for 6% of all cancer deaths. Current screening modalities for breast cancer diagnosis include mammography, digital mammography and magnetic resonance imaging; however, there is still an urgent need to develop an alternative modality of screening for earlier diagnosis. Autoantibodies to tumor-associated autoantigens can be elicited in breast cancer patients. Tumor-associated antigens vary between cancers and can be the result of a number of different events, including mutation, overexpression or altered expression patterns. The inherent amplification of signals provided by the host's own immune system to low levels of tumor-associated antigens in early disease provides a potential route to the early diagnosis of cancer. In addition, autoantibody responses in breast cancer have been correlated with patient survival and their response to treatment.

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