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Increased risk of malignant progression in benign proliferating breast lesions defined by expression of heat shock protein 27.

ABSTRACT: Heat shock protein 27 (hsp-27) is a regulator of oestrogen receptor (ER) expression and a modulator of intracellular homeostasis. In this laboratory, Shaaban et al demonstrated the importance of ER-alpha, together with Ki67, in enhancing the progression of benign breast lesions of defined morphological types. To better understand the mechanisms by which ER-alpha promotes breast neoplasia, this study was performed to test the hypothesis that the roles of ER-alpha and hsp-27 may be defined by their quantitative expression in proliferative breast lesions of varying histological risk. The expression of hsp-27 was identified using a specific monoclonal antibody and analysed to assess the proportion of positive epithelial cells using digitised morphometric image analysis. The expression of ER-alpha was analysed by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting in a variety of benign (HUMA121) and malignant mammary cell lines, including ER-alpha(+) (MCF7, ZR-75, T47D) and ER-alpha(-) (MDA-MB 231) breast cancer cell lines. The data confirm that, during progression from normal through proliferative breast lesions to in situ cancer, there was a significant increase in both the proportion and the optical density of the epithelial cells expressing hsp-27. The mean levels of expression ranged from 7.4% of the total number of epithelial cells in normal lobules to 25.17% of epithelial cells in hyperplasias of usual type (HUT) to 61.1% of epithelial cells in ductal carcinoma in situ (P<0.001). The study has confirmed the expression of hsp-27 to be closely associated with ER-alpha(+) expression, and that its regulated expression occurs early along the mammary oncogenic pathway, supporting the initial hypothesis. It is our proposal that the differential expression of hsp-27 modulates the phenotypic behaviour of morphologically benign epithelial cells and hence may be an important determinant in initiating, or promoting, a population of human mammary cancers.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC2395338 | BioStudies | 2004-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.1038/sj.bjc.6601449

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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