A glycoproteomic study has previously shown cadherin-5 (CDH5) to be a serological marker of metastatic breast cancer when both protein levels and glycosylation status were assessed. In this study we aimed to further validate the utility of CDH5 as a biomarker for breast cancer progression.
A nested case–control study of serum samples from breast cancer patients, of which n=52 had developed a distant metastatic recurrence within 5 years post-diagnosis and n=60 had remained recurrence-free. ELISAs were used to quantify patient serum CDH5 levels and assess glycosylation by Helix pomatia agglutinin (HPA) binding. Clinicopathological, treatment and lifestyle factors associated with metastasis and elevated biomarker levels were identified.
Elevated CDH5 levels (P=0.028) and ratios of CDH5:HPA binding (P=0.007) distinguished patients with metastatic disease from those that remained metastasis-free. Multivariate analysis showed that the association between CDH5:HPA ratio and the formation of distant metastases was driven by patients with oestrogen receptor (ER+) positive cancer with vascular invasion (VI+).
CDH5 levels and the CDH5 glycosylation represent biomarker tests that distinguish patients with metastatic breast cancer from those that remain metastasis-free. The test reached optimal sensitivity and specificity in ER-positive cancers with vascular invasion.