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Disease Markers
Volume 17 (2001), Issue 4, Pages 301-307

Proteomic Patterns of Nipple Aspirate Fluids Obtained by SELDI-TOF: Potential for New Biomarkers to Aid in the Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Cloud P. Paweletz,1,2,3 Bruce Trock,4 Marie Pennanen,5 Theodore Tsangaris,5 Collette Magnant,6 Lance A. Liotta,2 and Emanuel F. Petricoin III1

1Tissue Proteomics Unit, Division of Therapeutic Proteins, CBER, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
2Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
3Department of Chemistry, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA
4Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
5Department of Surgery, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007, USA
6Department of Surgery, Sibley Hospital, Washington, DC 20010, USA

Received 19 November 2001; Accepted 19 November 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) has been used for many years as a potential non-invasive method to identify markers for breast cancer risk or early detection. Because individual markers have not been optimal, we are exploring the use of surface enhanced laser desorption and ionization time of flight (SELDI-TOF) mass spectrometry to identify patterns of proteins that might define a proteomic signature for breast cancer. SELDI-TOF was used to analyze a study set of NAF samples that included 12 women with breast cancer and 15 healthy controls (the latter included three women with an abnormal mammogram but subsequent normal biopsy). In this preliminary report, we present data showing that SELDI analysis of NAF is rapid, reproducible, and capable of identifying protein signatures that appear to differentiate NAF samples from breast cancer patients and healthy controls, including those with an abnormal mammogram who were later proven to be biopsy normal.