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Am J Pathol. 1995 Mar;146(3):706-16.

Adhesion systems in normal breast and in invasive breast carcinoma.

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1
Laboratory of Developmental Physiopathology, Curie Institute, Paris, France.

Abstract

To analyze the role of various elements of the adhesion system in the organization of the normal mammary gland and in breast carcinoma, we have studied simultaneously the expression of integrins, E- and P-cadherins, and cytoplasmic constituents of adherens junctions. In the normal gland, E-cadherin and alpha-catenin are present in luminal epithelial and myoepithelial cells, whereas integrins are more abundant in acinar epithelial and in myoepithelial cells. We demonstrate here that, in addition, myoepithelial cells express much more vinculin and alpha-actinin than luminal epithelial cells, whereas talin and focal adhesion kinase (pp125FAK) are restricted to the basal cell layer. In invasive carcinoma, E-cadherin is usually present although often in reduced amount; different integrin subunits are expressed either by a fraction or by all of the cells or are absent. However, the cytoplasmic components of adherens junctions, such as alpha-catenin, vinculin, alpha-actinin, talin, and pp125FAK, are expressed at low levels or cannot be detected in the carcinoma cells. Our data suggest that 1), in the normal mammary gland, the myoepithelial cells, being particularly rich in integrins and cytoplasmic components of the adherens junctions, play an important role in the maintenance of tissue integrity; 2), in invasive carcinoma, cell aggregates may be maintained due to varying levels of expression of E-cadherin and/or integrins; and 3), interaction of the transmembrane adhesion molecules with the cytoskeleton in carcinoma may be impaired as revealed by reduced levels of expression of alpha-catenin, vinculin, alpha-actinin, talin, and pp125FAK. Importantly, carcinoma cells, when exposed to stroma during invasion, do not acquire the adhesion apparatus characteristic of normal cells in contact with the extracellular matrix.

PMID:
7887451
PMCID:
PMC1869192
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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