Cadherins as predictive markers of nodal metastasis in breast cancer

Mod Pathol. 2001 May;14(5):423-7. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.3880329.


Adhesion molecules, particularly cadherins play a pivotal role in cancer invasion and metastasis. Because the therapeutic management of tumors with and without nodal metastasis differs considerably, our idea was to identify tumors with metastatic potential. We studied the expression of E-cadherin and P-cadherin immunohistochemically in 51 cases of breast cancer that included 29 node-negative and 22 node-positive cases. Expression of the cadherins was mainly membranous, with cytoplasmic staining in a few lesions. Both E-cadherin and P-cadherin showed significant down-regulation of their expression in node-positive tumors in comparison to node-negative tumors. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the positive expression of E-cadherin and P-cadherin showed low odds ratios of 0.1 and 0.2, respectively, and were statistically significant. On multivariate analysis, both the cadherins were found to be of independent prognostic value. This suggests that cadherin expression could be a marker of nodal metastasis. An observation of interest was that the expression of E-cadherin and P-cadherin were highly correlated (correlation coefficient = 0.5873), which requires further evaluation for confirmation of a common regulatory pathway that could be activated in the early onset of nodal metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cadherins / analysis
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymph Nodes / chemistry
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism*
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cadherins