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Anticancer Res. 1997 Jan-Feb;17(1B):561-7.

Expression of E-cadherin and catenins in invasive mammary carcinomas.

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Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany.


E-Cadherin has been shown to be an invasion tumor suppressor gene, but few epidemiological studies have revealed relationships between loss of E-cadherin expression and invasive tumor growth and/or metastasis. The adhesive function of E-cadherin is dependent on the integrity of the catenin components which link E-cadherin to the actin filaments. In order to achieve a better correlation between the loss of cell adhesion and metastasis in cancer, we decided to investigate both E-cadherin and the catenins. 157 archival primary mammary carcinomas were immunohistochemically studied using antibodies against E-cadherin, alpha-, beta- and gamma-catenin. The following results were obtained: (a) Independent of the presence of E-cadherin, loss of expression of one or multiple catenins was noted; (b) loss of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin expression was more pronounced in lobular-type than ductal-type carcinomas; c) axillary lymph node metastases were completely lacking only in the group where expression of E-cadherin, alpha- and beta- catenin was preserved: d) no correlation between expression of c-erbB-2 and E-cadherin or one of the catenins was found. The results demonstrate for the first time that consideration of both the expression of E-cadherin and of the three catenins is useful in evaluation of the metastatic potential of mammary carcinomas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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