Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 251–259

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

  • Zhao-Zhe Liu
  • Xiao-Dong Xie
  • Shu-Xian Qu
  • Zhen-Dong Zheng
  • Ya-Kun Wang
Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10585-010-9323-2

Cite this article as:
Liu, ZZ., Xie, XD., Qu, SX. et al. Clin Exp Metastasis (2010) 27: 251. doi:10.1007/s10585-010-9323-2


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.


Breast cancer Micrometastases Small breast epithelial mucin Neoadjuvant chemotherapy 



Small breast epithelial mucin




Peripheral blood


Flow cytometry


Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction


Quantification real-time PCR


Tumor node metastasis


Phosphate buffered saline


Fluorescein isothiocyanate


Gluceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase


Lymph node metastasis


Hematoxylin eosin


Tissue microarray

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhao-Zhe Liu
    • 1
  • Xiao-Dong Xie
    • 1
  • Shu-Xian Qu
    • 1
  • Zhen-Dong Zheng
    • 1
  • Ya-Kun Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.Oncology DepartmentGeneral Hospital of Shenyang Military RegionShenyangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Dermatology Laboratory of the Ministry of HealthThe First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

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