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Eur J Cancer Clin Oncol. 1987 Oct;23(10):1517-27.

Immunolocalization of cytoskeletal elements in human mammary epithelial cells.

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  • 1Research Department, Ciba-Geigy Ltd, Basel, Switzerland.


The expression of cytokeratins, vimentin and actin was analysed by immunohistochemical methods in primary cultures derived from breast carcinomas and non-malignant breast tissues, in tissue sections and in permanent breast cancer cell lines. A polyclonal antibody specific for cytokeratins bound to the majority of cells in all primary cultures. Cells positive for simple-epithelial cytokeratins were less frequent in primary cultures derived from malignant tissues than in cultures derived from non-malignant tissues. Established cell lines MCF-7 and BT-20 expressed high amounts of simple-epithelial cytokeratins. All outgrowing cells in primary cultures expressed high amounts of vimentin whereas vimentin expression in established carcinoma lines was variable but generally low. When paraffin sections of the original mammary tissues were analysed, epithelial cells were devoid of vimentin as expected. Anti-actin antibody decorated fine fibres in all cells of primary cultures in contrast to the diffuse staining found in established mammary carcinoma cell lines.

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