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E-cadherin and beta-catenin expression in breast medullary carcinomas.

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The initial step of cancer invasion and metastasis is the escape of tumour cells from the primary site, involving disruption of normal cell-cell adhesion and E-cadherin (E-cad) and beta-catenin (beta-cat) down-regulation, as shown in various types of human malignancies including breast carcinomas. Medullary carcinomas are high grade and poorly differentiated tumours with syncytial typical pattern, and prognosis unexpectedly better than that in high grade breast carcinomas. In a series of 55 breast typical medullary carcinomas diagnosed according to the strict use of Ridolfi et al (Cancer 40: 1365-1385, 1977) criteria, E-cad and beta-cat were investigated using quantitative (SAMBA 2005 system) immunocytochemical assays on frozen sections. Results were compared to that obtained on paraffin sections and in a series (n=55) of grade 3 ductal carcinomas. It was shown that medullary carcinomas significantly (p<0.001) expressed more E-cad and beta-cat than grade 3 ductal carcinomas. E-cad and beta-cat correlated with high expression of P53, of c-erbB, and of Ki-67 antigens, and with lack of hormone receptors antigenic sites (p<0.001). It was concluded that favourable prognosis and syncytial pattern of typical breast medullary carcinomas likely results, at least partly, from a particular expression of cell-cell adhesion molecules, significantly limiting tumour growth and efficiently mastering the tumour cell dissemination, opposing to high proliferative activity (grade 3).
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Anatomie Pathologique, Faculte de Medecine Nord, Boulevard Pierre Dramard, 13165 Marseille Cedex 20, France.

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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