A study looking for biomarkers that show breast cancer may spread - DETECT

Cancer type:

Breast cancer





This study is looking for biomarkers of breast cancer that indicate it may spread to the bones. When breast cancer has spread it is called secondary breast cancer. A biomarker is a substance in the body that doctors can measure, which helps them to tell how a disease is developing or a treatment is working.

Many people with breast cancer are successfully treated every year. But for some, their cancer may spread to the bones. Doctors cannot tell in advance who may get secondary breast cancer in the bones. If they could, they may be able to give treatment early to stop it or slow it down.

In this study the researchers are looking for biomarkers of secondary breast cancer. They will do this by collecting samples of blood, urine, tears and saliva from people with breast cancer and people who have a non cancerous (benign Open a glossary item) breast lump. They will collect the samples from people without breast cancer to make sure that any biomarkers they do find are only related to breast cancer.

The aim of this study is to find biomarkers of breast cancer that show it may spread to the bones.

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if you

  • Have breast cancer or may have breast cancer OR
  • Have a breast lump which is not cancer

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Are known to be terminally ill and are receiving specialist end of life care
  • Are known to be HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C positive

Trial design

This study will recruit about 700 people. The researchers will ask your permission to take some samples. These can include

  • Blood samples
  • Urine samples
  • Tear or saliva samples

For some people, the researchers will take the samples only once. For others, they will take the blood and urine samples on several occasions over 5 years.

The researchers will also ask your permission for a small sample of tissue from when you had breast surgery or a biopsy, if you had these done.

Hospital visits

There are no extra hospital visits if you take part in this study. The researchers will take the study samples when you come to the hospital to see the doctor.

Side effects

As there are no treatments, there are no side effects to taking part in this study. But you may have some discomfort or bruising from where they take the blood sample.



Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Janet Brown

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Leeds
University of Sheffield

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Harriet wanted to try new treatments

Picture of Harriet

“I was keen to go on a clinical trial. I wanted to try new cancer treatments and hopefully help future generations.”

Last reviewed:

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