Finding the Enemy Within: Tumor Markers in Breast Cancer


This presentation provides an overview of the types of tumor markers and their utility in breast cancer. Statistical characteristics of tumor markers such as sensitivity and specificity will be reviewed. The diagnostic and screening modalities for breast cancer will be described. A detailed discussion on the use of tissue- and serum-based tumor markers will illustrate the importance of tumor marker testing in deciding therapeutic agents, monitoring treatment, and detecting early recurrence in breast cancer. Finally, the challenges faced by clinical chemistry laboratories in testing for serum-based tumor markers will be discussed.

Originally published on September 27, 2021

Lecture Presenter

Vrajesh K. Pandya, PhD

Vrajesh K. Pandya, PhD

Clinical Chemistry Fellow
University of Utah School of Medicine

Dr. Vrajesh Pandya graduated with an MSc specializing in Microbiology from the M.S. University of Baroda. He then obtained work experience developing analytical assays for biotherapeutic proteins at Intas Biopharmaceuticals, as well as performing cancer research at the Indian Institute of Science. Dr. Pandya moved to Canada to pursue a PhD at the University of Alberta, graduating in 2019. During his doctoral studies, he discovered a novel biomarker of aggressive ER-positive breast cancer called the BCL-2 Interacting Killer (BIK) by analyzing mRNA and protein levels in primary patient tumors. Subsequently, he investigated the underlying mechanism of BIK-mediated pathogenesis and discovered that BIK induced a novel pathway of cellular evolution called sub-lethal apoptosis, which led to DNA damage and cancer aggression.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the types and characteristics of tumor markers used in the clinical setting
  • Discuss a breast cancer diagnostic work up
  • Elucidate the utility of breast cancer tumor markers in the clinical chemistry laboratory

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories