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Cancer Res. 1995 Feb 15;55(4):901-6.

High expression level of alpha 6 integrin in human breast carcinoma is correlated with reduced survival.

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Department of Gynecology, University of Hamburg, Medical School, Germany.


We recently reported that alpha 6 integrin mediates experimental metastasis in mice by functioning in the adhesion of tumor cells to the vascular endothelium. In the current study, we investigated the expression of human alpha 6 integrin in invasive breast carcinomas of 119 women. In 50% of the tumors alpha 6 integrin was expressed in the majority of the cells, and this expression was correlated with reduced survival time. By contrast, the 24% of patients with breast tumors devoid of alpha 6 integrin expression all survived. The tumors were also evaluated for clinical risk factors including histological grading and steroid receptor level. The combination of these factors with alpha 6 integrin expression was superior in predicting overall survival than considering the other factors alone. The correlation with decreased survival time was consistent, regardless of whether the tumors expressed the alpha 6 integrin A or B forms, which differ in their cytoplasmic domain. On the basis of this pilot study we consider alpha 6 integrin expression to be a novel prognostic marker for human breast cancer.

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