Quantitation of cell-free DNA in blood is a potential screening and diagnostic maker of breast cancer: a meta-analysis

Huadi Wang, Zhen Liu, Jiansheng Xie, Zhanggui Wang, Xiaoyun Zhou, Yong Fang, Hongming Pan and Weidong Han _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:102336-102345. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21827

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Huadi Wang1,*, Zhen Liu1,*, Jiansheng Xie2, Zhanggui Wang3, Xiaoyun Zhou4, Yong Fang1, Hongming Pan1 and Weidong Han1

1Department of Medical Oncology, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

2Laboratory of Cancer Biology, Institute of Clinical Science, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

3Department of Radiotherapy, The Second People's Hospital of Anhui Province, Hefei, Anhui, China

4Department of Medical Oncology, Xiasha Campus, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Weidong Han, email: [email protected]

Hongming Pan, email: [email protected]

Keywords: breast cancer, cell-free DNA, screening test, diagnosis

Received: August 11, 2017     Accepted: September 22, 2017     Published: October 11, 2017


Introduction: Increased cell-free DNA (cfDNA) levels in circulating blood have been associated with higher possibility of breast cancer, however, researchers have not reached an agreement on its analysis.

Materials and Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis of 12 retrospective studies to clarify the value of cfDNA quantification in screening and diagnosis of breast cancer. PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane library were searched from January, 2000 to October, 2016. Pooled analyses were estimated using a random effects model.

Results: In total, 1003 primary breast cancer patients, 283 cases with benign breast disease and 575 healthy individuals were included. Pooled diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) was 27.63 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 10.96~69.61, I2 = 86.2%, P < 0.001) in discriminating between breast cancer and healthy controls; the area under the summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curve measured 0.91 (95% CI: 0.17~1.00). Analysis of available data in distinguishing breast cancer and benign breast disease showed a pooled DOR of 35.30 (95% CI: 7.58~164.39, I2 = 79.9%, P = 0.002) with an area under SROC of 0.91 (95% CI: 0.89~0.93). Ethnic group distribution based geographical factors suggested by meta-regression and subgroup analyses explained most of the heterogeneity.

Conclusions: Quantification of cfDNA is a promising test in screening and diagnostic of breast cancer, but population-based standardization of test methods require completion prior to clinical use.

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