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Am J Pathol. 1994 Feb;144(2):310-20.

Expression and prognostic significance of apolipoprotein D in breast cancer.

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Departamento de Biología Functional, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain.


Apolipoprotein D (apo D) is a glycoprotein involved in the human plasma lipid transport system and present at large amounts in cyst fluid from women with gross cystic disease of the breast. Apo D expression in breast carcinomas was examined by immunoperoxidase staining of a series of 163 tumors. A total of 60 (36.8%) tumors were negative for apo D immunostaining, 28 (17.2%) carcinomas were weakly positive, 33 (20.2%) were moderately stained, whereas the remaining 42 (25.8%) tumors were strongly stained with the specific antibodies. No significant correlation was found between apo D content and tumor size, lymph node involvement, or biochemical parameters such as estrogen receptors, cathepsin D, or pS2 protein. However, the finding of a significant association between apo D and menopausal status of patients or differentiation grade of tumors, with apo D values being lower in tumors from premenopausal women or in poorly differentiated carcinomas, suggested a potential value of this glycoprotein as a prognostic factor in breast cancer. Preliminary analysis of relapse-free survival and overall survival in a subgroup of 152 women with a mean follow-up of 42 months confirmed that low apo D values were significantly associated to a shorter relapse-free survival and poorer survival. According to these data, we propose that apo D in combination with other well-established prognostic factors may contribute to more accurately identify subgroups of breast cancer patients with low or high risk for relapse and death.

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