Elevated levels of p27, p21 and cyclin D1 correlate with positive oestrogen and progesterone receptor status in node-negative breast carcinoma patients

Virchows Arch. 1999 Aug;435(2):116-24. doi: 10.1007/s004280050408.


The search for better prognostic indicators and new treatment modalities in node-negative breast carcinoma patients is important. The aim of this study was to determine the immunohistochemical expression of central cell regulator proteins in relation to hormone receptor status, tumour-cell differentiation and prognosis. We investigated the immunoreactivity of p27, p21, cdk4, cyclin D1 and p53 in 77 node-negative breast carcinomas, with long-term follow-up (mean 163 months; range 20-227). Nuclear staining for p27 was seen in 87% of the carcinomas, for cdk4 in 92%, for p21 in 68%, for cyclin D1 in 58% and for p53 in 18%. Oestrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PgR) nuclear staining was seen in 69% and 65% of the tumours, respectively. No correlation between the levels of p21 and p53 was observed. p21 overexpression was, however, associated with positive ER status. Elevated levels of p27 and cyclin D1 correlated with positive hormone status (both ER and PgR). We did find a significant correlation between p27 and cyclin D1 and histological grade of the tumours, with extensive positive immunostaining of p27 and cyclin D1 in well-differentiated carcinomas. The only significant prognostic factor in our series was histological grading. Ten-year relapse-free survival was significantly prolonged in patients with histological grade I tumours versus histological grade II and III tumours. Our results suggest that the expression of p27 and cyclin D1 is closely linked to hormone receptor status in breast carcinomas and to tumour differentiation, a finding that may be of importance in the treatment of hormone-dependent tumours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Oncogene Protein p21(ras) / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*


  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Tagln protein, mouse
  • Cyclin D1
  • Oncogene Protein p21(ras)