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Endocrinology. 1997 Dec;138(12):5555-60.

Expression of prolactin and its receptor in human breast carcinoma.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia 19104-4283, USA.


The growth regulatory effects of PRL on the human breast are mediated by its receptor (PRLr), a member of the cytokine receptor family. Recent reverse transcriptase-PCR studies by our laboratory and others have shown PRL expression within breast tissues at the RNA level. To confirm the role of this growth factor-receptor complex in normal and malignant breast tissues, the expression of PRL and PRLr was examined in parallel with the estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR). Sixty-nine cases of primary invasive breast carcinoma were examined for PRL and PRLr expression by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical technique, respectively. These data revealed widespread expression of PRL and its receptor in the breast cancers studied (>95%) and in the normal breast tissues (>93%), with no association between the expression of PRL-PRLr and ER or PR. These findings stand in contrast to prior RIA-based studies that detected the PRLr in only 20-60% of breast carcinomas, most commonly in ER-PR-positive cells. These results confirm prior data indicating the presence of an autocrine/paracrine loop for the PRL-PRLr complex within human breast tissues. Given the widespread expression of PRL-PRLr in breast cancer, pharmacological interventions aimed at the inhibition of function of this growth regulatory receptor complex may be of considerable utility in the therapy of this disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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