Stem cell-related markers in primary breast cancers and associated metastatic lesions

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Guler G., Balci S., Costinean S., UŞŞAKLI Ç., Irkkan C., Suren D., ...More

MODERN PATHOLOGY, vol.25, no.7, pp.949-955, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/modpathol.2012.37
  • Journal Name: MODERN PATHOLOGY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.949-955
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


It has been reported previously that: (1) normal-breast epithelial cells that are CD24-/44+ express higher levels of stem/progenitor cell-associated genes; (2) cancer cells that have undergone epithelial to mesenchymal transition display CD24-/44+ cell-surface expression, a marker for breast cancer stem cells; (3) loss of E-cadherin is a preliminary step in epithelial to mesenchymal transition; and (4) vimentin is a marker of mesenchymal phenotype. We hypothesized that stem cell subpopulations would be more frequent in metastatic than in primary tumors. Therefore we assessed by immunohistochemical analysis, tissue microarrays containing tissue from primary and associated metastatic breast cancers for expression of CD24, CD44, E-cadherin and vimentin to evaluate candidate cancer-initiating cell populations in breast cancer subtypes and metastatic lesions. The occurrence of CD24-/44+ and CD24+/44- cells did not differ in primary vs matched lymph node or distant and locoregional metastatic lesions; E-cadherin expression was decreased in primary vs lymph node metastases (P=0.018) but not decreased in distant and locoregional metastases relative to primary tumor, whereas vimentin, was more frequently expressed in lymph node and distant and locoregional metastases (P=0.013, P=0.004) than in matched primary cancers. Thus, the frequency of CD24-/44+ cells does not differ in metastases relative to the primary breast cancer but differs by tumor stage and subtype. Modern Pathology (2012) 25, 949-955; doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2012.37; published online 2 March 2012