Many important problems related to the biology, diagnosis, and management of breast cancer require the accurate assessment of the presence of tumors and of their size and extent of growth. Biological markers are substances made by tumors, or substances or biological phenomena closely associated with the presence of tumors. These markers may be specific for breast cancer, or they may be quantitatively altered in tumor-bearing subjects, and thereby can aid in the identification of tumors and in the assessment of tumor burden. Although some useful markers can be measured chemically, most have been detected by immunological assays. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the clinical application of immunological assays for the evaluation of patients with cancer. This increasing interest has been due in part to recent advances in radioimmunoassays (RIAs) and other highly sensitive immunological techniques that allow measurement of picogram or nanogram quantities of antigens. In addition, immunological assays can be exquisitely specific, and in some instances can discriminate between molecules with differences in a single amino acid or sugar. Such procedures have provided the basis of discrimination of products of various types of neoplastic cells from normal cellular materials.


Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Patient Biological Marker Benign Breast Disease Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald B. Herberman
    • 1
  1. 1.National Cancer InstituteLaboratory of ImmunodiagnosisBethesdaUK

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