FosB is Highly Expressed in Normal Mammary Epithelia, but Down-Regulated in Poorly Differentiated Breast Carcinomas
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- Milde-Langosch, K., Kappes, H., Riethdorf, S. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2003) 77: 265. doi:10.1023/A:1021887100216
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FosB is a member of the AP-1 family of transcription factors which represent important regulators of cell proliferation and differentiation. Based on prior results which indicated a role of FosB in breast cancer, we studied FosB protein and mRNA expression by immunohistochemistry and, partly, in situ hybridization in 68 mammary carcinomas and normal breast tissues. We found strong nuclear FosB immunoreactivity in epithelial cells of normal lobules and ducts, whereas carcinomas frequently showed loss of FosB expression (n = 8) or weak immunostaining (n = 24). Reduced FosB protein expression in tumors correlated with high grading (p = 0.005), negative estrogen and progesterone receptor status (p < 0.001), and strong HER2/neu expression (p = 0.025). Comparison with expression of seven cell-cycle regulators revealed an association of low/absent FosB staining with p16MTS1 overexpression (p = 0.005). RT-PCR showed expression of full-length FosB and the smaller splice variant FosB2 in most carcinomas and cell lines with and without FosB protein expression, indicating that both proteins are differentially regulated mainly at a post-transcriptional level. By sequence analysis of the coding region in four cell lines and 17 carcinomas we detected a mutation in HBL-100 cells. Our results indicate that high FosB expression might be necessary for normal proliferation and differentiation of mammary epithelial cells, and reduced FosB protein levels might be involved in dedifferentiation during breast tumorigenesis.