Elemental vs. phase composition of breast calcifications.
Nature Publishing Group
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Despite the importance of calcifications in early detection of breast cancer, and their suggested role in modulating breast cancer cell behaviour, very little detail is known about their chemical composition or how this relates to pathology. We measured the elemental composition of calcifications contained within histological sections of breast tissue biopsies, and related this to both crystallographic parameters measured previously in the same specimens, and to the histopathology report. The Ca:P ratio is of particular interest since this theoretically has potential as a non-invasive aid to diagnosis; this was found to lie in a narrow range similar to bone, with no significant difference between benign and malignant. The Mg:Ca ratio is also of interest due to the observed association of magnesium whitlockite with malignancy. The initially surprising inverse correlation found between whitlockite fraction and magnesium concentration can be explained by the location of the magnesium in calcified tissue. Sodium was also measured, and we discovered a substantial and significant difference in Na:Ca ratio in the apatite phase between benign and malignant specimens. This has potential for revealing malignant changes in the vicinity of a core needle biopsy.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Nature Publishing Group via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 7, pp. 136 -
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