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IgM Antibodies for Breast Cancer Diagnosis

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Breast cancer is a prevalent malignant tumor among women, and early detection plays a pivotal role in treatment and outlook. Presently, mammography serves as the primary screening technique. Nonetheless, its high cost renders it viable only in well-developed countries with robust healthcare systems. Therefore, low- and middle-income countries necessitate the prompt adoption of affordable screening methods like clinical breast examinations and early diagnostic tools.

IgM in Cancer

Immunoglobulin M (IgM) is an important component of the immune system and plays a vital role in recognizing and destroying cancer cells. IgM is the body's first line of defense. In its secreted form, IgM is a pentamer of five 4-chain units with 10 antigen-binding sites, and thus has a higher valence than other immunoglobulin (Ig) structures. It has been observed that breast cancer patients produce high levels of IgM and IgG titers against specific tumor-associated antigens (TAAs). These antibodies indicate the production of IgM and IgG complexes, which are considered markers of tumor load.

IgM and IgG in tumor progression.Fig.1 IgM and IgG in tumor progression.1

IgM and IgG Complexes

Circulating immune complexes (CICs), formed by two classes of Ig (Ig-Ig) or Ig class and C3 (Ig-C), are collectively referred to as two-component identified CICs (TCIC), serving as an indicator of host immune status. It was found that BC patients had altered immunoregulation as evidenced by the presence of IgM/IgG TCICs and IgG/IgM TCICs (Yang, 2007). The downregulation of IgM/IgG TCICs was a common feature of patients, whereas the levels of IgG/IgM TCICs were variable. These findings suggest that IgM and IgG TCICs play an important role in the immunoregulatory process of malignant tumors.

Diagnostic potential of IgM

In breast cancer, detection of autoantibodies against tumor-associated antigens is expected to aid in early diagnosis and prognosis, and IgG antibody-like molecules have been proposed as indicators of therapeutic efficacy. However, IgG antibodies are usually immunomodulated and they reflect suppression of the immune response to the tumor. In contrast, natural IgM antibodies contribute to tumor elimination by directly presenting tumor antigens to NK cells and DCs. Natural IgM produced by a subpopulation of B1 cells and marginal zone B cells has a direct cytotoxic effect on tumor cells. It recognizes tumor-modified cell surfaces and activates complement to destroy newly transformed cells. Therefore, the detection of IgM antibodies in combination with imaging analysis promises to be a useful early diagnostic method.

In conclusion, IgM serves as a diagnostic tool that can be used in conjunction with early mammography, MRI or Doppler ultrasound to detect breast cancer. Creative Biolabs has an experienced team of professionals who provide a wide range of non-IgG antibody development services to clients worldwide. In addition, we can provide a full range of IgM antibodies from different species, such as rat, mouse, and Armenian hamster for different applications. If you have any related needs, please feel free to contact us for more information and a detailed quote.


  1. Díaz-Zaragoza, Mariana, et al. "Natural and adaptive IgM antibodies in the recognition of tumor-associated antigens of breast cancer." Oncology reports 34.3 (2015): 1106-1114.

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For Research Use Only. Our products and services are NOT intended for diagnostic or therapeutic applications.






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