Aims: To establish the value of vimentin expression in predicting survival in patients with breast cancer.
Methods: Five-year follow-up data were obtained for 68 patients with ductal carcinoma (NOS) of the breast in whom vimentin expression had been studied in fresh frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue. The predictive value on survival of tumour size, growth fraction (as assessed using the Ki67 monoclonal antibody), oestrogen receptor status and Bloom and Richardson grade of the primary tumour, and the presence or absence of lymph node metastases in axillary samples, were also studied.
Results: Twenty-two patients died of their disease within 5 years of diagnosis. Vimentin expression either on frozen or paraffin sections did not provide a statistically significant prediction of survival. On univariate analysis tumour grade, size and the presence of lymph node metastases provided prognostic information. Only lymph node status was of independent prognostic importance on multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: Whilst these results confirm the value of established prognostic factors, they do not support the use of vimentin expression in either fresh or fixed tissue for the prediction of survival in ductal carcinoma (NOS) of the breast.