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Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 1999 Apr;21(2):151-60.

Quantitative immunoprofiles of breast cancer performed by image analysis.

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Department of Experimental and Diagnostic Medicine, Institute of Pathology, University of Ferrara, Italy.



To determine the biopathologic profiles of breast cancer for greater knowledge of tumor natural history and clinical outcome.


In 99 in situ (ISC) and 2718 infiltrating breast carcinomas (IC), biologic markers (estrogen receptor [ER], progesterone receptor [PR] proliferation index, cerbB-2/NEU, p53, bcl-2 and DNA ploidy) were evaluated with an image analysis system (CAS 200/486). In 105 mixed invasive cancers with size < or = 1 cm, a separate analysis of in situ (ISCm) and invasive component (ICm) was obtained. A clinical study of 836 invasive breast cancers was performed.


Different biophenotypes were obtained: among ISCs, cribriform type exhibited biologic behavior similar to that of normal breast tissue (ER+, PR+, proliferation index [PI] low, NEU-, p53-, bcl-2+) the opposite profile was displayed by comedo type, and intermediate phenotypes were observed in noncomedo and lobular types. Comparing ISC and ISCm, PI and p53 expression had the highest levels in ISCm with respect to other groups. NEU overexpression exhibited a decreasing value from ICm to IC. Younger women (< or = 40 years) with IC demonstrated a worse biologic profile (high PI, p53+, ER- and size > 2 cm). In multivariate analysis, PI and NEU in node-negative patients, and NEU, PR and size in node-positive ones emerged as prognostic parameters.


The results underline the importance of the quantitative biologic profile for defining tumor behavior and patient management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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