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Histopathology. 2002 Jun;40(6):536-46.

Abnormal alpha-catenin expression in invasive breast cancer correlates with poor patient survival.

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Department of Pathology, Medical School University of Athens, Athens, Greece.



alpha-Catenin is a member of the E-cadherin-catenin family of adhesion molecules whose role is essential for the function of the E-cadherin complex. In this study, we have evaluated the expression of alpha-catenin but also of the other catenins (beta-, gamma- and p120-catenin) and E-cadherin in invasive breast cancer and statistically analysed these expressions with known clinicopathological parameters, c-erbB-2 oncoprotein expression and patient survival.


Abnormal E-cadherin and beta-catenin expression, especially loss of expression, was associated with lobular histological type of breast carcinomas (P=0.03 and P=0.01, respectively). Abnormal E-cadherin and alpha-catenin expression was associated with high histological grade ductal carcinomas (P=0.01 and P=0.03, respectively). Abnormal E-cadherin and beta-catenin expression was correlated with lymph node metastases (P=0.02 and P=0.05, respectively), while abnormal alpha- and beta-catenin were correlated with the advanced stage of the disease (P=0.04 and P=0.05, respectively). Abnormal p120-catenin expression was associated with loss of PR (P=0.008). Survival analysis demonstrated a statistically significant association between abnormal alpha-catenin expression and poor patient survival (P=0.02). When survival analysis was performed according to the different patterns of abnormal expression, statistically significant associations were seen between cytoplasmic alpha- and beta-catenin expression and poor survival (P=0.006 and P=0.04, respectively).


alpha-Catenin, especially its cytoplasmic expression, seems to be a more sensitive prognostic marker than the other members of the E-cadherin complex in invasive breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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