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Expression of cathepsin D and galectin 3 in tubular carcinomas of the breast

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Fernandez-Aguilar S, Noël JC. Expression of cathepsin D and galectin 3 in tubular carcinomas of the breast. APMIS 2008;116:33–40.

Tubular carcinoma (TC) is a distinctive type of grade I (G1) ductal carcinoma with particularly favourable outcome and low rate of axillary metastases. To the best of our knowledge, few data are available in the literature concerning the expression of molecules mediating intercellular and cell-matrix interactions in TC. We examined with immunohistochemical methods the expression of galectin 3 and cathepsin D in 17 TC and in 33, 31 and 28 ductal carcinomas of G1, grade II (G2) and grade III (G3), respectively. Results were compared using Chi-square test. Galectin 3 expression was higher in TC than in G1 carcinomas (p<0.05). The pattern of immunostaining was also different with a focal cytoplasmic apical reinforcement in TC. However, cathepsin D stromal and epithelial expression was similar in TC and G1 cases (p>0.05), and lower than in G2 and G3 patients at a stromal level. The higher expression of galectin 3 in TC and its focal staining (apical) pattern suggests that within the group of G1 carcinomas, galectin 3 expression varies according to histological type, and may correlate with prognosis and metastatic potential. We also suggest that cathepsin D could not be involved in neoplastic progression and metastasis in low-grade (G1) ductal breast carcinomas.

Keywords: Tubular carcinoma; cathepsin D; galectin 3; immunohistochemistry; prognosis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Pathology, Erasmus Hospital, Brussels, Belgium

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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