Epithelial Paradox: Clinical Significance of Coexpression of E-cadherin and Vimentin With Regard to Invasion and Metastasis of Breast Cancer

Nami Yamashita, Eriko Tokunaga, Makoto Iimori, Yuka Inoue, Kimihiro Tanaka, Hiroyuki Kitao, Hiroshi Saeki, Eiji Oki, Yoshihiko Maehara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

E-cadherin and vimentin are regarded as major conventional canonical markers of epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Both E-cadherin– and vimentin-positive tumors had the worst prognosis among all cases. Further, E-cadherin and vimentin protein is colocalized within the same tumor cells, suggesting the existence of an aggressive subpopulation in the primary tumor nest of breast cancer. Background: E-cadherin and vimentin are regarded as major conventional canonical markers of the epithelial–mesenchymal transition. It is commonly assumed that E-cadherin is uniformly lost during the process of epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Breast tumor cells typically invade as a cohesive multicellular unit in a process called collective invasion. The aim of this study was to reveal the clinical importance of the expression pattern of E-cadherin and vimentin in breast cancer. Methods: E-cadherin and vimentin protein expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in 176 invasive breast cancer samples. Among these, E-cadherin and vimentin expression were evaluated in the set of primary site and metastatic lymph nodes in 65 cases. In addition, E-cadherin and vimentin expression were analyzed by confocal laser scanning microscopy to see E-cadherin and vimentin localization in the breast cancer cells. Results: Both at the primary site and metastatic lymph nodes, both E-cadherin– and vimentin-positive tumors had the worst disease-free and overall survival among all cases. In addition, E-cadherin and vimentin protein is colocalized within the same tumor cells in a human breast cancer specimen. Conclusion: Our present data suggest the existence of an aggressive subpopulation in the primary tumor nest of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1003-e1009
JournalClinical Breast Cancer
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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