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J Pathol. 2003 Aug;200(5):633-9.

Loss of CD59 expression in breast tumours correlates with poor survival.

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CRC Academic Unit of Clinical Oncology, University of Nottingham, City Hospital, Hucknall Road, Nottingham, NG5 1PB, UK.


CD59 (protectin), a phosphatidylinositol-anchored glycoprotein, is a member of the cell membrane-bound complement regulatory proteins that inhibits the formation of the terminal membrane attack complex (MAC) of complement. In this study, the expression of CD59 was evaluated in 520 breast carcinomas from patients with a mean follow-up of 87 months. This expression was correlated with clinicopathological features and patient survival. Marked variation in the intensity of CD59 expression, which correlated with histological grade and Nottingham prognostic index (NPI), was found, with higher expression of CD59 found more often in well and moderately differentiated tumours and those of good prognosis (NPI < or = 3.4). In contrast, high grade and poor prognosis (NPI > 5.4) carcinomas significantly demonstrated lack of CD59 expression (p < 0.001). Moreover, it was found that the percentage of CD59-positive cells correlated significantly with patient survival, ie patients with a high percentage of positive cells (>50%) had a better overall survival (p = 0.006). A correlation was also found between the percentage of CD59-positive cells and tumour type and also the development of distant metastases. No association was found between either the intensity or the percentage of cells expressing CD59 and vascular invasion, lymph node stage, tumour size, patient age or menopausal status. In multivariate analysis, CD59 percentage positivity was of independent prognostic significance with grade and lymph node stage. These findings indicate that loss of CD59 may offer a selective advantage for breast cancers, resulting in more aggressive tumours and conferring a poor prognosis for patients.

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