Objective: The present study was undertaken to identify patient populations at high risk for bone metastases (BM) at any time after diagnosis of operable breast cancer.
Subjects and methods: A total number of 59 cases with breast cancer after mastectomy was subdivided into two main groups that included 30 patients with radiologically confirmed BM and 29 patients with no bone metastasis (NBM). Patients with NBM were formerly observed for a one-year follow-up interval to monitor the development of bone metastasis (new BM). Parameters included a full blood picture, tumour markers (carcinoembryonic antigen and CA 15.3) and some biochemical markers (vascular endothelial growth factor and zinc levels, as well as tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase activities).
Results: A significant elevation was recorded in carcinoembryonic antigen level and alkaline phosphatase activity, as well as inflammation and vascularisation markers at the time of primary diagnosis in patients with BM, compared with those without BM. CA 15.3 was significantly higher in the new BM group as compared with the other two groups (patients free of bone metastasis [free BM] and BM). According to the likelihood ratio, a panel of single, calculated as well as combined markers was proposed to predict BM within one year in breast cancer patients.
Conclusion: Vascularisation and inflammation markers, as well as CA 15.3 are predictive of bone recurrence within one year in breast carcinoma patients. We suggest that in cancer validation studies it is imperative to search for markers that link to the premetastatic process and to determine what type of mechanism is active in each stage.