Teresa Three years ago he read a news story in the press: Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) started a study to say Tumor markers in the breastmilk. She, who then had 46 years and she was breast-feeding her first child (then one and a half years old), decided to participate. Was fury, but he wanted to contribute his grain of sand. “The news caught my attention and I contacted Dr. Saura [Cristina Saura, investigadora principal del Grupo de Cáncer de Mama del VHIO]”, says Teresa.
They performed liquid biopsies of blood, breast milk and breast ultrasounds. She was in one of the evidence where they gave him the bad new. “I had breast cancer. They detected the tumor in one of those controls”, he says on the other end of the phone. The good news is that, thanks to these tests that would not have been done if he were not in this study (population screening for breast cancer is carried out from the age of 50), Detection of his tumor was very early. Today, Teresa is well and recovered.
A breast cancer patient who contributed a sample of breast milk that she had saved promoted the Vall d’Hebron project
“I had never had breast cancer before. nor did he have any priors. Simply the luck Thanks to participating in the trial, my tumor was detected at the beginning of the illness”, account. Through the study in which Teresa participated, the VHIO has just discovered that The breast milk of breast cancer patients contains tumor DNA. And that the liquid biopsy of this same breast milk can predict the breast cancer risk (the most common type of tumor in women) during the postpartum. The diagnosed women during the postpartum, As happened to Teresa, they have a worse prognosis since they are usually diagnosed in more advanced stages of the disease.
“I had no history of breast cancer. Luckily, the tumor was detected at the beginning of the disease”
VHIO trial patient
A year and a half later
Teresa was diagnosed with the tumor through a breast ultrasound 18 months after having your child. When this test detected cancer, the Vall d’Hebron researchers decided to review the blood and breast milk samples which the patient had delivered on two occasions: 11 months and 6 months before diagnosis. And they confirmed what they already suspected and the reason why they started this trial: tumor DNA was already present in breast milk, long before ultrasounds revealed it.
“I’m very happy having participated in the study. Thanks to this, my cancer was detected in a very initial stage, hence I saved myself chemotherapy and its side effects in the short and medium term, which are many. Now I feel very well,” Teresa says. She only wishes that the liquid biopsy test in breast milk, which can serve as an early diagnosis of breast cancer in this risk group, be expanded to all women. who are breastfeeding their children. “It would be a great advance,” he says.
Another curiosity. This VHIO discovery started thanks to the concern of another patient that is not Teresa, the ‘patient zero’. This is a woman with breast cancer who was diagnosed during the pregnancy of her third daughter. The woman went to Vall d’Hebron worried because He feared having transmitted the tumor through breast milk. her second daughter while breastfeeding, who it had been long and it had been prolonged until shortly before of the diagnosis of her breast cancer.
Liquid biopsy in breast milk can serve as an early diagnosis of breast cancer in women during the postpartum period
The patient, according to Dr. Saura, appeared with a sample of breast milk that I had stored in the freezer. “And there, thanks to her, it is where our project begins because, although we know that breast cancer is not transmitted through breast milk, we decided to analyze the sample in search of markers that could help us in the investigation,” explains Saura. Indeed, when analyzing this breast milk, the researchers found DNA with the same mutation that was present in his tumor. The breast milk had frozen more than a year before the patient’s cancer diagnosis.
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