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J Pathol. 2004 Jun;203(2):672-80.

Co-expression of neuregulins 1, 2, 3 and 4 in human breast cancer.

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Cancer Biology Laboratory, Research School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.


We have produced antibodies to the NRG2-alpha, NRG2-beta, NRG3 and NRG4 proteins and used these, and previously described antibodies to NRG1-alpha and NRG1-beta, to detect expression of each ligand by immunocytochemical staining in a series of 45 breast cancers. Each protein was expressed in a proportion of cases. Statistical analysis suggested that expression of one factor was associated with a high probability that other members of the family were co-expressed. NRG2-alpha expression was associated with node positivity (p-value = 0.005). The mRNAs for NRG1, 2, 3 and 4 were found in established breast cancer cell lines and NRG1, 2 and 3 mRNAs were detected in primary breast cancers. Expression of NRG4 mRNA was shown by in situ hybridization in sections from primary breast cancers. This data demonstrates that each member of the NRG family of ligands is expressed in breast cancer and suggests that they may be involved in regulating cell behaviour.

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