Early Detection of Metastasis-Prone Breast Cancers

Investigator: Laura J. Esserman, MD
Sponsor: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Location(s): United States


This project is motivated by the realization that screening mammography and subsequent treatment strategies are not yielding the expected reduction in invasive breast cancer incidence or mortality. We conclude that this is because screening mammography is not detecting metastasis-prone cancers before they have metastasized and/or because routine histolopathological procedures are not detecting the true extent of disease at the time of surgery. Our goals in this project are to improve both of these processes. We will improve anatomic detection by using MRI and/or PET imaging to detect the binding of contrast reagents specifically targeted to molecular targets on the metastasis-prone subtypes and by developing digital imaging algorithms that recognize metastasis-prone lesions in digital mammographic images. We will develop better histopathological methods using information acquired by scanning tissue sections using mass spectrometry imaging techniques that identify and determine the molecular characteristics of cancer cells that are missed by routine histopathological analyses.