, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 251-259
Date: 03 Apr 2010

Small breast epithelial mucin (SBEM) has the potential to be a marker for predicting hematogenous micrometastasis and response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer

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Abstract

To investigate the potential role of small breast epithelial mucin (SBEM) as a marker for detecting hematogenous micrometastasis in breast cancer and explore its clinical significance in neoadjuvant chemotherapy. SBEM protein expression in 82 tissue specimens of primary breast cancer was detected using immunohistochemistry (IHC), and SBEM expression in peripheral blood (PB) samples of 109 primary breast cancer patients (94 cases at stage I–III, 15 cases at stage IV) was detected by flow cytometry (FCM) and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Moreover, SBEM mRNA expression was monitored by quantification real-time PCR (QPCR) before and after 3 cycles’ neoadjuvant chemotherapy. SBEM expression correlated with tumor node metastasis (TNM) staging and lymph node metastasis at both mRNA and protein levels. SBEM expression in PB of breast cancer patients was markedly higher than that of healthy donors and other cancer patients. SBEM was found expressed in PB of 50 cases among 94 cases at stage I–III and expressed in PB of 11 cases among 15 cases at stage IV. After 3 cycles’ neoadjuvant chemotherapy, SBEM expression levels were significantly down-regulated in up to 58% breast cancer patients. SBEM has the potential to be a specific marker for predicting hematogenous micrometastasis and response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer.