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Clin Cancer Res. 2002 Dec;8(12):3857-62.

Microvessel density, expression of estrogen receptor alpha, MIB-1, p53, and c-erbB-2 in inflammatory breast cancer.

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Cancer Therapeutics Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20889, USA.



The purpose is to define intratumoral microvessel density (MVD) and potential biological markers that correlate with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), we examined MVD, estrogen receptor a (ER) status, MIB-1 proliferation index, p53, and c-erbB-2 by immunohistochemistry in archival specimens from 67 women diagnosed with breast cancer with or without the inflammatory phenotype at the Institut Salah Azaiz (Tunis, Tunisia).


The moderate (25-50/x400 field) to high microvessel count (>50/x400 field) was observed in 23 (51%) of 45 IBC tumors compared with 3 (14%) of 22 non-IBC tumors (P = 0.0031; chi(2) test). The presence of ER was found in 6 (14%) of 44 cases versus 7 (32%) of 22 cases in IBC and non-IBC, respectively (P = 0.10). In this series of 67 patient tumors, the median MVD count in ER-negative breast tumors was 21, whereas the median count was 4 in ER-positive breast tumors (P = 0.08; Wilcoxon rank-sum test). However, MIB-1, p53, and c-erbB-2 were not significantly different between IBC and non-IBC tumors. The intratumoral MVD between IBC and non-IBC was still statistically significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons (P = 0.02; Bonferroni test).


These data suggest that there is an increased MVD in breast cancer with the inflammatory phenotype as compared with breast cancer without the inflammatory phenotype.

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