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Pathol Res Pract. 2000;196(11):753-9.

Polo-like kinase: a novel marker of proliferation: correlation with estrogen-receptor expression in human breast cancer.

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Pathologisches Institut, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Universitätsklinikum Mannheim, Germany.


Previous data have shown that the mRNA-expression of the serin/threonine-kinase polo-like kinase (PLK) is closely correlated with the survival of patients suffering from a subset of malignant tumors. PLK-mRNA and protein-expression are restricted to cells in the cell cycle. PLK-mRNA-transcripts are highly abundant in proliferating cells; no gene expression is found in G0-phase cells. Here we investigated the mRNA- and protein-expression of PLK- and estrogen-receptor (ER) in human breast-carcinoma by northern-blotting, RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. The expression of MIB-I was determined on serial sections. Analysis of the immunohistochemical data revealed a close correlation between the ER and PLK-expression (r = 0.677; p = 0.001, n = 30). No relationship between the mRNA-expression of ER and PLK was found. Furthermore, no correlation for the protein expression of PLK and MIB-I exists. The influence of estrogen (ES) is known to have proliferative potential. The expression of ER correlates with the ES-plasma-level. In addition, the hormone cycle of premenopausal women undergoes rapid vacillations with varying effects on the proliferating tumor cells, e.g., growth induction. Our results therefore show that ER-expression is not only of therapeutic value for the clinician, but it may also be a tool for determining the tumor proliferation index more precisely by integrating the hormone-mediated proliferation stimulus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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