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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1992 Mar;20(3):185-94.

Prognostic significance of tumor phosphatidylcholine stearic acid level in breast carcinoma.

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Laboratoire de Biologie des Tumeurs, CNRS URA 1334, Faculté de Médecine, Tours, France.


The involvement of lipid enzymes in the action of oncogenes at the cell membrane level has suggested that membrane lipids could play a role in modulating the growth of tumors. We previously found that breast cancer patients with a low level of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their primary tumor's phosphatidylethanolamine had a high risk of early occurrence of visceral metastasis. In the present study, we prospectively examined whether fatty acid composition of tumor membrane phosphatidylcholine had a prognostic significance in a series of 63 patients with a localized presentation of breast cancer. Membrane phospholipids were extracted from the carcinoma tissue obtained at the time of surgery, phosphatidylcholine was purified, and its fatty acids were analyzed by capillary gas chromatography. During the follow-up period, 20 patients developed metastasis. In these patients, the proportion of stearic acid containing phosphatidylcholine was significantly lower than it was in the tumors of the 43 patients who remained metastasis-free. Multivariate analysis according to Cox showed that low stearic acid level in tumor phosphatidylcholine and high mitotic index were independently predictive of subsequent metastasis. The predictive value of stearic acid level on metastasis risk was higher in node-positive patients than in node-negative patients, allowing individualization of a subgroup of low stearic acid level, node-positive patients with very poor prognosis. We concluded that stearic acid level in tumor membrane phosphatidylcholine is an independent intra-tumor marker of breast cancer prognosis. This finding is new evidence that tumor's structural lipids are linked to the growth of breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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