Cytidine deaminase activity increases in the blood of breast cancer patients
AbstractCytidine deaminase (CDA), an enzyme of the pyrimidine salvage pathway, deaminates cytidine, deoxycytidine and analogs, such as gemcitabine. Constitutive low levels of CDA activity have been reported in the blood of patients with hematological malignancies or suffering from gemcitabine toxicity. We previously reported that cellular CDA deficiency leads to genetic instability. We therefore hypothesized that constitutive CDA deficiency might confer a predisposition to cancer. We analyzed CDA activity and expression in blood samples from breast cancer (BC) patients with a suspected predisposition to the disease, and in healthy controls. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that both CDA activity and mRNA levels were higher in blood samples from BC patients than in those from controls, and that this difference was not due to excess neutrophils. CDA activity levels were significantly higher in the serum samples of BC patients treated by radiotherapy (RT) than in those of untreated healthy controls, and hormone therapy in RT-treated BC patients was associated with significantly lower levels of CDA activity. A preliminary analysis of CDA activity in the serum of the very few BC patients who had undergone no treatment other than surgery suggested that the increase in CDA activity might be due to the breast cancer itself. Our findings raise important questions, which should lead to studies to elucidate the origin and significance of the increase in CDA activity in the serum of BC patients, and the impact of hormone therapy.