E-cadherin expression in molecular types of breast carcinoma

Vol. 54 No. 2, 2013


Carmen Ionescu Popescu, Simona Eliza Giusca, Ludmila Liliac, Roxana Avadanei, Raluca Ceausu, Anca Maria Cimpean, Raluca Balan, Cornelia Amalinei, Delia Ciobanu Apostol, Irina-Draga Caruntu

E-cadherins are epithelial morphological stabilizers, performing complex functions as receptors, providers of cellular and tissular structural integrity, and functional interactive mediators. Structural and functional unbalance initiated due to E-cadherin expression loss results in direct effects on carcinogenesis specific biological processes, as cellular invasion and proliferation. We investigated the E-cadherin expression aiming (i) to identify the differences in the molecular subtypes of breast cancer, (ii) to analyze the correlations between E-cadherin and specific clinicopathological and molecular characteristics. The study included 42 cases that were investigated immunohistochemically using a panel of antibodies (ER, PR, Her2/neu, CK5/6, EGFR), which permitted a diagnostic in compliance with the molecular classification, followed by the E-cadherin evaluation. The semi-quantitative assessment of E-cadherin was performed using a scoring system based on the positive cells percentage and the staining intensity. Our results showed, according to the molecular subtypes, a strong positive E-cadherin expression in 26 cases (luminal A subtype - nine cases, luminal B subtype - five cases, HER2 subtype - three cases, basal-like subtype - seven cases, unclassified subtype - two cases), and a weak positive one in 16 cases (luminal A subtype - six cases, luminal B subtype - eight cases, HER2 subtype - one case, basal-like subtype - one case). The statistical analysis revealed significantly statistical differences between E-cadherin and tumoral grade (p=0.0208), histological subtype (p=0.0081), triple negative molecular subtypes and non-triple negative, respectively (p=0.0361). These findings support the potential value of E-cadherin for a supplementary differentiation of molecular subtypes, based on the biological significance of its capacity of expression.

Corresponding author: Irina-Draga Caruntu, Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail: irinadragacaruntu@gmail.com

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