Background: beta-Catenin plays a central role in the E-cadherin/catenin cell-cell adhesion complex and is possibly involved in cellular signalling pathways. In this study, we evaluated the expression patterns of this molecule in in situ and invasive breast cancer.
Methods: The expression of beta-catenin was evaluated in 121 breast cancer specimens by immunohistochemistry. Its relationship to clinicopathological features was also investigated.
Results: Altered beta-catenin expression was found in 68% of tumours. Lobular carcinomas showed abnormal beta-catenin expression more frequently (77%) than ductal carcinomas (64%) with 46% of lobular cases showing complete absence of beta-catenin immunoreactivity. Cytoplasmic beta-catenin localization was seen only in ductal carcinomas. Aberrant beta-catenin expression was observed in 54% of ductal carcinomas in situ with highly concordant beta-catenin expression patterns in the nearby in situ and invasive components.
Conclusions: Quantitative and qualitative changes in beta-catenin expression occur in a considerable proportion of in situ and invasive ductal carcinomas and are more prominent in invasive lobular carcinomas.
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