P-cadherin expression is associated with high-grade ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast
Cadherins are calcium-dependent cell–cell adhesion glycoproteins, separated into several subclasses with distinct adhesive specificities and tissue distribution, which play an important role in many cellular events. We analyse the expression of E-, N- and P-cadherin in a series of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast, since this disease represents a heterogeneous group, with different risks of progression to invasive breast carcinoma. We also studied the correlation between cadherin expression and DCIS classification systems, namely the Van Nuys and the Holland et al. classification, this latter based on cytonuclear differentiation and cell polarity. Our results showed that, regardless the classification applied, P-cadherin expression is strongly associated with high histological grade of DCIS (P=0.0047) and lack of estrogen receptors (P=0.0008). The use of Holland et al. classification showed a significant correlation between P-cadherin expression and decreased cell polarity (P=0.01). In conclusion, P-cadherin expression seems to be more relevant in DCIS pathogenesis than the altered expression of any other cadherin, including the decrease of E-cadherin expression.
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