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Histol Histopathol. 2004 Jul;19(3):807-13. doi: 10.14670/HH-19.807.

Immunohistochemical expression of superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) anti-oxidant enzyme in invasive breast carcinoma.

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


The most important cellular protective mechanisms against oxidative stress are antioxidant enzymes. Their action is based on decomposal of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their transformation to H2O2. Within the mitochondria manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) affords the major defense against ROS. In this study we investigated tissue sections from 101 breast carcinomas for the immunohistochemical expression of MnSOD protein and these results were assessed in relation to various clinicopathological parameters, in order to clarify the prognostic value of this enzyme. The possible relationship to hormone receptor content, anti-apoptotic protein bcl-2, p53 and cell proliferation was also estimated. High expression levels were observed, as 79/101 (78,2%) cases expressed strong immunoreactivity. In this study MnSOD increased in a direct relationship with tumor grade and is therefore inversely correlated with differentiation (p=0.0004). Furthermore, there was a strong positive correlation between MnSOD expression and p53 protein immunoreactivity (p=0.0029). The prognostic impact of MnSOD expression in determining the risk of recurrence and overall survival with both univariate (long-rang test) and multivariate (Cox regression) methods of analysis was statistically not significant. These results indicate that neoplastic cells in breast carcinomas retain their capability to produce MnSOD and thus protected from the possible cellular damage provoked by reactive oxygen species. In addition, MnSOD content varies according to the degree of differentiation of breast carcinoma.

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