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New universal breast cancer marker predicts recurrence and clinical outcome
Date:5/6/2009

(PHILADELPHIA) Reporting online in the American Journal of Pathology, researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have implicated the loss of a stromal protein called caveolin-1 as a major new prognostic factor in patients with breast cancer, predicting early disease recurrence, metastasis and breast cancer patient survival.

The absence of caveolin-1 in the stroma also appeared to be a marker for drug resistance in patients receiving tamoxifen, according to Michael Lisanti, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the departments of Cancer Biology, Medical Oncology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

According to Dr. Lisanti, who is also director of the Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center at the Kimmel Cancer Center, caveolin-1 is expressed by cells in the stroma called fibroblasts, which are present in the connective tissue surrounding cancer cells. When cancer cells arise, the fibroblasts stop making caveolin-1.

"The idea that a prognostic biomarker is present in the stroma rather than the epithelial cancer cell is paradigm-shifting," Dr. Lisanti said. "Importantly, these findings could be developed into a diagnostic test that would not require DNA-based technologies. This inexpensive and cost-effective test would allow doctors to identify high-risk breast cancer patients at diagnosis and treat them more aggressively."

Dr. Lisanti, along with first author Agnieszka Witkiewicz, M.D., assistant professor of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology at Jefferson, and other colleagues analyzed breast tissue samples from 154 women diagnosed with breast cancer. All samples were obtained from the University of Michigan. They used three tissue cores from each patient tumor sample, and analyzed each core for stromal caveolin-1 using immunohistochemistry staining.

The absence of stromal caveolin-1 was strongly associated with other predi
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Contact: Emily Shafer
emily.shafer@jefferson.edu
215-955-6300
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

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