Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The noninvasive technique of nipple aspiration as a potential source of biomarkers of breast cancer risk was evaluated. The feasibility of performing mutagenesis assays, amplifying DNA, and performing protein electrophoresis on nipple aspirate fluid was explored. A tool was developed to measure the level of discomfort, if any, from this procedure. Twenty-five healthy women (20 premenopausal and 5 postmenopausal) were enrolled. Fluid was obtained using a modified breast pump. Premenopausal women were scheduled for four to six weekly aspirations, and postmenopausal women were scheduled for one to two weekly aspirations. Mutagenesis assays were performed using the Salmonella (Ames) assay. DNA amplification of several microsatellite regions was carried out using polymerase chain reaction. Protein was quantified, and two-dimensional protein electrophoresis was performed. Overall, fluid was obtained from 80% of the women, and the level of discomfort was minimal. Acid hydrolysis of one sample resulted in mutagenicity; all six nonhydrolyzed samples were not mutagenic. The ability to amplify DNA ranged from 34% to 96%, depending on length of the microsatellite region examined. The average protein concentration was 71 μg/mL. Two-dimensional protein electrophoresis was successfully performed on samples from two subjects. Nipple aspiration is a simple technique and is easily learned and well tolerated, which yields a reagent useful for a variety of investigations. This technique may facilitate the identification and application of biomarkers for future breast cancer risk assessment and chemopreventive protocols.
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