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Cancer Res. 2003 Mar 1;63(5):1101-5.

Tissue microarray analysis of hepatocyte growth factor/Met pathway components reveals a role for Met, matriptase, and hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor 1 in the progression of node-negative breast cancer.

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Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Numerous studies have demonstrated that overexpression of Met, the hepatocyte growth factor(HGF) receptor, plays an important role in tumorigenesis. Met activation can either occur through ligand-independent or -dependent mechanisms, both of which are mediated by a series of proteases and modulators. We studied the protein expression of several components of the HGF/Met pathway on a cohort of 330 node-negative breast carcinomas using a tissue microarray annotated with 30-year, disease-specific patient follow-up data. We examined HGF, matriptase (an activator of HGF expressed on mammary epithelial cell surfaces), HAI-I (the cognate inhibitor of matriptase), and the Met receptor itself. Our studies demonstrate tight correlation between the expression of HGF, matriptase, and Met in breast carcinoma. High-level expression of Met, matriptase, and HAI-I were associated with poor patient outcome. Met and HAI-I showed independent prognostic value when compared with traditional breast markers in a multivariate analysis. Intriguingly, antibodies against the intracellular but not the extracellular domain of Met were prognostic, suggesting that overexpression of the cytoplasmic-tail of Met, perhaps through cleavage or truncating mutation, may play an important role in breast cancer progression.

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