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Virchows Arch. 1994;425(5):459-65.

PIP/GCDFP-15 gene expression and apocrine differentiation in carcinomas of the breast.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences & Oncology, University of Torino, Italy.


The frequency and the significance of apocrine differentiation in carcinomas of the breast are uncertain, because of the lack of reliable and reproducible criteria for morphological diagnosis. The 15 kDa glycoprotein of cystic breast disease (GCDFP-15) is regarded as a specific functional marker of apocrine cells. Expression of the prolactin-inducible protein (PIP)/GCDFP-15 gene was investigated by Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization in breast cancer cell lines and in an unselected series (33 cases) of primary carcinomas of the breast. On the same cases, histological assessment of apocrine differentiation and immunocytochemical detection of GCDFP-15 were also performed and correlated with follow-up data. The presence of PIP/GCDFP-15 mRNA was a feature of a relatively high number of cases, but was incompletely correlated with histological and immunocytochemical evidences of apocrine differentiation. Expression of the PIP/GCDFP-15 gene was significantly associated with relapse-free survival, and may represent a novel variable of functional and prognostic relevance.

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