Breast Interstitial Fluid (ISF) Study

Although mammography is the standard approach for breast cancer screening, it would be nice to have less painful tools and ones that work for dense breasts too. We are investigating how proteins in breast fluid reflect the tissue environment and differ in areas near benign masses, malignant masses and normal tissue. We use a non-painful approach to make tiny holes in dead skin cells that are only the width of a hair (see dots to the right of the penny) and use a clear collection device that is placed on top of the holes on the surface of a woman's breast. We then gently collect fluid for about an hour. This fluid contains proteins that we analyze. Ultimately, we hope this will become an easy tool to screen for breast cancer, response to treatment and to easily monitor for breast cancer recurrence.

You are not required to participate, and your decision to participate or not participate will not affect your care in any way.  If you decide to participate, individual project results will not be shared with any of your doctors or other care providers including the project team, and they will not become part of your medical record. The project is currently exclusively for research purposes so specific individual information is also not shared. The summary results of our findings will be shared with other scientists and breast cancer specialists, with the goal of developing a better screening tool. Reports will not include any individual identifying information about you or any other patients.

If you answer YES to all the items below then you may be eligible and we’d love to hear from you!   If you would like to learn more about this project then please email or call Farina Ali at or (650)721-4089)

  • Female
  • Age 18 or older
  • Not pregnant
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Have not had extensive surgery on my breasts 
  • Have not had a biopsy or had a biopsy more than 30 days ago
  • Am not taking any medications to treat breast cancer
  • Have not had radiation or chemotherapy in either breast
  • Have not been diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts


Download the study consent form below.