The aim of the project is the development of a non-invasive method of early detection of breast cancer and the identification of specific molecular subtypes by means of metabolomic and miRNA analysis in liquid biopsy. These novel methods will help to decide the optimal individualized therapy and to predict the response to treatment in patients with breast cancer.
The starting hypothesis is based on the existence of alterations in the normal metabolic processes that occur in cancer cells and that do not occur in healthy cells. This causes changes in normal serum concentrations of certain metabolites that can be readily detected and analyzed from blood samples.
On the other hand, numerous studies have associated changes in the profile of miRNAs (small non-coding RNA sequences that regulate gene expression) with different aspects of breast cancer, including early diagnosis, different histological patterns and prognosis of the disease.
The set of altered metabolites and the characteristic miRNAs profile of the patients would constitute "signature" representative of the presence of the tumor, which would allow its early detection a more reliable prognosis of the evolution of the disease, aiding the selection and follow-up of the treatment.