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Taurine: a novel tumor marker for enhanced detection of breast cancer among female patients



The antioxidant Taurine found to display antineoplastic effect through down regulation of angiogenesis and enhancement of tumor cell apoptosis. It has been found that progressive inhibition of apoptosis and induction of angiogenesis may contribute to tumor initiation, growth and metastasis in the pathogenesis of breast cancer.

Aim of the study

To correlate taurine level with the levels of some bioomolecules operating in both angiogenesis (VEGF, CD31) and apoptosis (TNF-α and Caspas-3) which could help for breast cancer pronostication and to evaluate a possible role of serum taurine level as an early marker for breast cancer in Egyptian patients.

Patients and methods

Four groups of a total 85 female candidates were studied in this work. The first group consists of 50 female patients at National Cancer Institute (NCI), Cairo University were diagnosed and undergoing surgery for breast carcinoma. In the second group 10 having benign breast lesions, were included. The third group consists of five cases, with positive family history. Twenty healthy females were also recruited as control. A preoperative blood sample were taken from each patient to measure serum level of VEGF; Taurine; CA15.3 and TNF- α. Sample of fresh tumor and their corresponding safety margins were obtained from the first and second groups, for determination of caspase-3; histopathological examination and immunohistochemical assay of VEGF and CD31.


No significant differences in the serum level of CA15.3 between the breast cancer patients, the high risk and the control group. TNF-α (apoptotic biomolecule) level showed a significant difference only between breast cancer group and control group. The VEGF (angiogenic biomarker) showed a highly significant difference between breast cancer patients, the high risk and the control group. Regarding the antioxidant taurine (antiangiogenic biomolecule) serum level in breast cancer group exhibited a value strongly lower than the high risk and control group. Also the correlative ratio between the angiogenic/apoptotic biomarker (VEGF/TNF-α) showed a highly significant difference between the main previous three groups. Same observation were also noticed in the correlation between angiogenic/antiangiogenic (VEGF/taurine) ratio in the same groups. Moreover the enzymatic activities of Casp-3 in the tissue homogenate were statistically higher in adjacent normal tissues than in malignant tissues. The result of immunohistochemical investigation showed a significant increase in the density of intracellular VEGF and microvessel density expressed as CD31 in cancer cases compared to normal adjacent tissue.


It is suggested that assessment of taurine level in sera of patients with high risk for breast cancer are of great value in the early diagnosis of malignant changes in the breast.

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Correspondence to Dalia E. El-Nashar.

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El Agouza, I.M., Eissa, S.S., El Houseini, M.M. et al. Taurine: a novel tumor marker for enhanced detection of breast cancer among female patients. Angiogenesis 14, 321 (2011).

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  • Antioxidant taurine
  • Angiogenesis (VEGF, CD31)
  • Apoptosis (TNF-α and Caspas-3)