Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 327–332 | Cite as

Shorter disease-specific survival of ER-positive breast cancer patients with high cytoplasmic Src kinase expression after tamoxifen treatment

  • B. Elsberger
  • D. M. Paravasthu
  • S. M. Tovey
  • J. Edwards
Original Paper



Src kinase, a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, is overexpressed and highly activated in a number of human cancers and appears to show a significant relationship with breast cancer progression. Recent in vitro studies have suggested that Src kinase may be involved in tamoxifen resistance.


Immunohistochemistry was performed on 392 resected breast cancers using an antibody to c-Src. Expression was assessed using the weighted histoscore method.


Forty-five percentage of breast tumours exhibited nuclear, 46% cytoplasmic and 7% membrane expression. Lymph node positivity correlated with cytoplasmic c-Src tumour expression levels (P < 0.001). Nuclear c-Src correlated negatively with cytoplasmic and membrane c-Src expression (P < 0.001, P = 0.005). High expression levels of cytoplasmic c-Src was associated with worse disease-specific survival (P = 0.026) after completing 5 years of tamoxifen therapy. However, high expression of c-Src at any cellular location did not show any association with de novo relapse on tamoxifen (c-Src nuc P = 0.906, c-Src cyto P = 0.735 and c-Src memb P = 0.791).


No translational evidence was found in this study to support a role for Src kinase in developing de novo tamoxifen resistance. However, based on our findings on late clinical outcome, patients with high cytoplasmic c-Src may be selected for continuing endocrine therapy to prevent worsening prognosis.


Src kinase ER-positive breast cancer Disease-specific survival Immunohistochemistry Tamoxifen 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Elsberger
    • 1
  • D. M. Paravasthu
    • 1
  • S. M. Tovey
    • 2
  • J. Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cancer, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryCrosshouse HospitalKilmarnockUK

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