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BMC Cancer. 2008 Jan 31;8:36. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-8-36.

COX-2 and PPARgamma expression are potential markers of recurrence risk in mammary duct carcinoma in-situ.

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Lynn Sage Breast Center and Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University, Chicago USA.



In women with duct carcinoma in-situ (DCIS) receiving breast conservation therapy (BCT), in-breast recurrences are seen in approximately 10%, but cannot be accurately predicted using clinical and histological criteria. We performed a case-control study to identify protein markers of local recurrence risk in DCIS.


Women treated for DCIS with BCT, who later developed in-breast recurrence (cases) were matched by age and year of treatment to women who remained free of recurrence (controls).


A total of 69 women were included in the study, 31 cases and 38 controls. Immunohistochemical evaluation of DCIS tissue arrays was performed for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, HER-2/neu, cyclin D1, p53, p21, cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2) and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma). Two markers were significantly different between cases and controls on univariate analysis: strong COX-2 expression was associated with increased risk of recurrence, with 67% vs. 24% positivity in cases and controls p = 0.006; and nuclear expression of PPARgamma was associated with protection from recurrence with 4% vs. 27% positivity in cases and controls, p = 0.024. In a multivariate model which included size, grade, COX-2 and PPARgamma positivity, we found COX-2 positivity to be a strong independent risk factor for recurrence (OR 7.90, 95% CI 1.72-36.23)., whereas size and grade were of borderline significance. PPARgamma expression continued to demonstrate a protective trend, (OR 0.14, 95% CI 0.06-1.84).


Our findings suggest that COX-2 and PPARgamma should be investigated further as biologic markers to predict DCIS recurrence, particularly since they are also potential therapeutic targets.

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