New technology may help identify aggressive early breast cancer

Imaging and math combine to illuminate aggressive biomarkers in DCIS

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new technology that can identify aggressive forms of ductal carcinoma in situ, or stage 0 breast cancer, from non-aggressive varieties.


Although epidemiological studies propose aggressive and non-aggressive forms of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), they cannot be identified with conventional histopathology.

We now report a retrospective study of human biopsy samples using biomarker ratio imaging microscopy (BRIM). Using BRIM, micrographs of biomarkers whose expression correlates with breast cancer aggressiveness are divided by micrographs of biomarkers whose expression negatively correlates with aggressiveness to create computed micrographs reflecting aggressiveness.

The biomarker pairs CD44/CD24, N-cadherin/E-cadherin, and CD74/CD59 stratified DCIS samples. BRIM identified subpopulations of DCIS lesions with ratiometric properties resembling either benign fibroadenoma or invasive carcinoma samples.

Our work confirms the existence of distinct subpopulations of DCIS lesions, which will likely have utility in breast cancer research and clinical practice.

Study and Press Releases
  • New technology helps ID aggressive early breast cancer, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN HEALTH SYSTEM, 30-JUN-2016.
  • Identification of lesion subtypes in biopsies of ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast using biomarker ratio imaging microscopy, Nature Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/srep27039, 01 June 2016.
  • Aggressive breast cancer identified with new technique, medicalnewstoday, 03 July 2016.

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