Down-regulation of gelsolin expression in human breast ductal carcinoma in situ with and without invasion

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1999 May;55(2):179-88. doi: 10.1023/a:1006203632228.


Expression of gelsolin, an actin filament regulatory protein, in human breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) was analyzed by immunohistochemistry using a monoclonal antibody. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from 59 pure DCIS specimens and 33 DCIS specimens with associated invasive components were evaluated for gelsolin reactivity and compared to eight normal breast cases and 76 invasive breast cancers. The proportion of cases exhibiting negative/low expression of gelsolin in the epithelium was as follows -- normal, 0%; pure DCIS, 56%; DCIS associated with invasion, 58% in the DCIS component and 66% in the invasive component; invasive carcinoma, 70%. These data demonstrate that down-regulation of gelsolin expression in breast epithelium frequently parallels progression to malignancy. Testing gelsolin expression (normal vs. negative/low levels) in the DCIS lesions for associations with patient age or any of the following histopathologic parameters revealed no significant (95% probability level) correlations -- tumor size; pathologic (Van Nuys system) grade; nuclear grade; necrosis; presence of histologic calcifications; presence or type of adjacent benign lesions; architectural histologic pattern; and mammographic extent. Gelsolin loss was more commonly associated with mammographic soft tissue lesions as compared to calcified lesions (P = 0.009). A positive trend of borderline significance (P = 0.06) found in the DCIS with invasion group was a correlation between down-regulated gelsolin expression in the DCIS component and size (< versus > or = 15 mm) of the invasive tumor. In conclusion, reduced gelsolin protein is detectable in at least half of breast lesions which have progressed to DCIS. The trend between increasing gelsolin loss and malignant progression from normal epithelium to DCIS to invasive breast cancer (P < 0.0001) suggests additional investigation is needed to determine the potential of altered gelsolin expression as a marker for prognosis and for therapeutic interventions in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Breast Diseases / genetics
  • Breast Diseases / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma in Situ / classification
  • Carcinoma in Situ / genetics*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / metabolism
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / classification
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gelsolin / biosynthesis*
  • Gelsolin / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Gelsolin
  • Neoplasm Proteins