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Acta Histochem. 2005;107(2):87-93. Epub 2005 Apr 15.

Relationship between the expression of various markers and prognostic factors in breast cancer.

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Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, 13110 Safat, Kuwait.


The immunohistochemical detection of six markers of breast cancer has been compared in the present study with known prognostic factors of the disease to establish locally a standard panel of markers for the management of breast cancer. Sections of tissue of 114 consecutive breast cancer cases were studied immunohistochemically, using antibodies against oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), androgen receptor, c-erbB2, cathepsin D, and cyclin D. Marker labelling was graded as recommended in the literature. Using the chi(2)-test, relationships were determined between marker labelling and histological type of cancer, tumour grade, tumour size, axillary lymph node status and age of patient. A p value below 0.05 was considered significant. A positive relationship was found between ER and PR and lower grades of cancer, and a negative relationship was found with medullary and atypical medullary carcinoma. The four other markers showed no relationship with grade or type of cancer. All markers showed no significant relationship with size of tumour, presence of axillary node metastasis or age of patient. There was positive correlation between c-erbB2 and cathepsin D. Our study confirms the association between ER and PR and histological type and grade of breast cancer, both known parameters of good prognosis. We found no consistent relationship between the other four markers and prognostic factors studied, other than the suggestion that c-erbB2 and cathepsin D may be useful markers for poor prognosis and can be usefully applied locally, especially in the light of the current availability of trastuzumab (Herceptin) for management of c-erbB2-positive cases. We found no relationship between the markers and tumour size, axillary lymph node status or age.

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