Biomineralogical signatures of breast microcalcifications

Sci Adv. 2023 Feb 22;9(8):eade3152. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.ade3152. Epub 2023 Feb 22.


Microcalcifications, primarily biogenic apatite, occur in cancerous and benign breast pathologies and are key mammographic indicators. Outside the clinic, numerous microcalcification compositional metrics (e.g., carbonate and metal content) are linked to malignancy, yet microcalcification formation is dependent on microenvironmental conditions, which are notoriously heterogeneous in breast cancer. We interrogate multiscale heterogeneity in 93 calcifications from 21 breast cancer patients using an omics-inspired approach: For each microcalcification, we define a “biomineralogical signature” combining metrics derived from Raman microscopy and energy-dispersive spectroscopy. We observe that (i) calcifications cluster into physiologically relevant groups reflecting tissue type and local malignancy; (ii) carbonate content exhibits substantial intratumor heterogeneity; (iii) trace metals including zinc, iron, and aluminum are enhanced in malignant-localized calcifications; and (iv) the lipid-to-protein ratio within calcifications is lower in patients with poor composite outcome, suggesting that there is potential clinical value in expanding research on calcification diagnostic metrics to include “mineral-entrapped” organic matrix.

PMID:36812311 | DOI:10.1126/sciadv.ade3152


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