Background: The prognostic variability in breast cancer patients prompted the authors to investigate specific biological markers for the identification of high-risk breast cancer groups. In the present study, attention was focused on the interaction between tumor cells and the extracellular matrix, an important requisite in the metastatic process.
Materials and methods: Fifty-six primary breast carcinoma specimens obtained by mastectomy or quadrantectomy plus axillary dissection were examined with immunohistochemistry, for the determination of laminin, collagen type IV and hormone receptor expression and with static cytometry, for the determination of the DNA content.
Results: Laminin and collagen type IV expression was observed on the membrane and in the cytoplasm of neoplastic cells. Laminin and collagen type IV were present, respectively, in 85.4% and 73.8% of the cases which showed recurrence.
Conclusion: The results of this study have shown that high expression of laminin and collagen type IV may have a value in the prognosis of disease free survival and may be linked to other classical clinical, histological and biological parameters in the evaluation of breast cancer patients.