, Volume 447, Issue 1, pp 24-30
Date: 10 Jun 2005

Significance of inducible nitric oxide synthase expression in benign and malignant breast epithelium: an immunohistochemical study of 151 cases

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The role of calcium independent inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in breast carcinoma is controversial, and the implications of iNOS expression on prognosis are not known. In this study, we aimed to investigate the significance of immunohistochemical iNOS expression in 100 invasive ductal carcinomas. In addition, 11 normal breast tissues, 20 cases of usual ductal hyperplasias (UDHs) and 20 fibroadenomas were included. We found that 78% of malignant and 75% of benign cases showed iNOS immunoreactivity. However, the intensity and the quantity of iNOS expression were significantly higher in the cancer group when compared with benign breasts (P<0.001), suggesting a role of iNOS in breast carcinogenesis. We were unable to show a correlation between iNOS expression and tumor grade, axillary lymph node status, and estrogen receptor expression. In 50 axilla negative cases having 5–12 years follow-up, disease free survival (DFS) rate was significantly lower in cases showing strong iNOS expression (P=0.05). As strong iNOS expression was correlated with short DFS, we concluded that further studies would be necessary to elucidate if iNOS expression might be a useful prognostic marker in breast carcinoma, especially in the axilla negative group.

Part of this study was presented at XXIVth International Congress of the International Academy of Pathology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 5–10 October 2002 as a poster presentation.