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J Pathol. 2001 Jun;194(2):254-61.

Expression of CD31 by cells of extensive ductal in situ and invasive carcinomas of the breast.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, University of Torino Medical School, Torino, Italy. anna.sapino@unito.it

Abstract

CD31, an adhesion molecule expressed by endothelial cells, leukocytes, and platelets, is used in surgical pathology as a marker of normal and neoplastic vascularization. During the assessment of angiogenesis in breast carcinomas, CD31 expression was observed in a single case of large (5.2 cm diameter) high nuclear grade ductal carcinoma in situ (HG-DCIS) associated with poorly differentiated invasive ductal carcinoma (G3-IDC). Expression was limited to the cell membrane. This study focused on 32 HG-DCIS> or = 2 cm, either pure or associated with IDC. Cancer cells wereCD31(+) in 11 cases. Double staining using anti-CD31 monoclonal antibody (MAb) and anti-CD44 MAb, the anti-hyaluronate receptor, showed that foci of CD31(+) and CD44(-) tumour cells could be traced throughout the glandular tree, marking the intraductal diffusion of tumour up to Paget's cells at the nipple. The associated G3-IDC and their lymph node metastases were instead CD31(+) and CD44(+). CD31(+) tumours were oestrogen receptor (ER)(-), frequently p53(+) and c-erb-B2(+), and infiltrated by CD4(+) T lymphocytes. Normal and hyperplastic epithelia were constantly CD31(-). Other endothelial markers (e.g Factor VIII-RA and CD34) were not expressed by carcinoma cells, as was CD38, the CD31 ligand. In conclusion, CD31 expression is a feature acquired by breast cancer cells in the DCIS model. CD31 expression mainly correlates with tumour cells spreading within the ductal system. Finally, the invasive phenotype requires the co-expression of CD31 and CD44.

Copyright 2001 John Wiley& Sons, Ltd.

PMID:
11400156
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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