Lymph node involvement is a major prognostic variable in breast cancer. Whether the molecular mechanisms that drive breast cancer cells to colonize lymph nodes are shared with their capacity to form distant metastases is yet to be established. In a transcriptomic survey aimed at identifying molecular factors associated with lymph node involvement of ductal breast cancer, we found that luminal differentiation, assessed by the expression of estrogen receptor (ER) and/or progesterone receptor (PR) and GATA3, was only infrequently lost in node-positive primary tumors and in matched lymph node metastases. The transcription factor GATA3 critically determines luminal lineage specification of mammary epithelium and is widely considered a tumor and metastasis suppressor in breast cancer. Strong expression of GATA3 and ER in a majority of primary node-positive ductal breast cancer was corroborated by quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry in the initial sample set, and by immunohistochemistry in an additional set from 167 patients diagnosed of node-negative and -positive primary infiltrating ductal breast cancer, including 102 samples from loco-regional lymph node metastases matched to their primary tumors, as well as 37 distant metastases. These observations suggest that loss of luminal differentiation is not a major factor driving the ability of breast cancer cells to colonize regional lymph nodes.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Oct 2013|
- GENE-EXPRESSION SIGNATURE
- ALPHA EXPRESSION
- GATA3 EXPRESSION