, Volume 131, Issue 1, pp 14-18
Date: 01 Oct 2004

Expression of e-cadherin in high-risk breast cancer

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Abstract

Purpose

E-cadherin expression is diverse, and differences in patient characteristics may produce variability in expression. Whereas some studies have indicated that downregulation of e-cadherin, associated with loss of cellular adhesiveness, was correlative with poor prognosis and metastasis, other studies have failed to confirm this. The present study uses a highly homogenous population of patients at high-risk for breast cancer, on the basis of ethnic and socio-economic status, to examine the relationship between e-cadherin and other prognostic markers in breast cancer.

Methods

Immunohistochemical staining was undertaken for estrogen (ER) and progesterone (PR) receptors, epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her-2), p53, vascular endothelial factor (VEGF), and hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and the levels of these markers was compared to e-cadherin expression in a high-risk African-American patient population.

Results

E-cadherin expression persisted into the later stagers of the disease, and was strongly associated with Her-2 and HIF-1α expression, but not p53, ER/PR or VEGF.

Conclusions

In contrast to other studies on heterogeneous populations, e-cadherin is preserved in aggressive tumors in this high-risk population. The ethnic and socio-economic risk stratification needs to be accounted for in studies correlating markers and prognosis.

Supported by a generous grant from the Avon Products Foundation