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Pathol Int. 1999 Sep;49(9):775-80.

Expression of Bcl-2, but not Bax, correlates with estrogen receptor status and tumor proliferation in invasive breast carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Affiliated Kihoku Hospital, Japan.


Bcl-2 and Bax have been demonstrated to be associated with apoptosis in breast carcinoma, and the ratio between Bax and Bcl-2 seems to be an important determinant of cellular sensitivity to induction of apoptosis. However, little information is available on the relationship between Bcl-2, Bax and the proliferative activity of breast carcinoma. The purpose of this study was to investigate the significance of apoptosis-related genes bcl-2 and Bax and their correlation with expression of p53, tumor proliferation defined by MIB-1 expression and estrogen receptor status. Immunohistochemistry was performed to determine Bcl-2, Bax, p53, estrogen receptor (ER) and MIB-1 expression in paraffin-embedded tissues of 177 invasive breast cancers. Expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 was not correlated with the pro-apoptotic Bax. Bcl-2 immunostaining displayed a negative correlation with increasing histologic grade, p53 and MIB-1 (P < 0.0001, P < 0.05 and P < 0.0001, respectively) and a positive correlation with rising ER immunostaining (r = 0.305, P < 0.0001). Conversely, expression of the apoptosis-promoting protein Bax did not correlate with increasing histologic grade, p53, MIB-1 or ER status. Neither Bcl-2 expression nor Bax expression correlated with age, menopausal status, tumor size, histologic type or axillary lymph node status. These results imply that Bcl-2 is associated with good prognostic markers and the regulation of Bax is complex and does not necessarily correlate with mutant p53 status in breast cancers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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