M-CSF (monocyte colony stimulating factor) and M-CSF receptor expression by breast tumour cells: M-CSF mediated recruitment of tumour infiltrating monocytes?

J Cell Biochem. 1992 Dec;50(4):350-6. doi: 10.1002/jcb.240500403.


Infiltrating immune cells in 30 primary human epithelial breast tumours were studied using specific anti-CD3 (T cells), anti-CD68 (macrophages), anti-CD57 (NK cells), and an anti-pan-B cell antibody (L26). The majority of tumour infiltrating inflammatory cells are T cells (40-50%) and monocytes/macrophages (15-35%). The macrophage specific chemo-attractant and growth factor CSF-1 is detected by immunohistochemical techniques (IHC) at the level of invasive breast cancer cells in 46/50 tumours but not at the level of in-situ (pre-invasive) cancer. A mosaic staining pattern was usually observed, with a very high expression in areas of obvious stromal invasion (90% cells positive) and absent or trace staining in intraductal carcinoma. Macrophages and plasma cells are equally intensely positive. In-situ hybridisation experiments confirm the production of CSF-1 (mRNA) by tumour cells and show the same pattern of expression. Expression of the CSF-1 receptor protein (fms) was also observed by IHC in 41/48 invasive tumours, albeit at weaker intensities than in tumour infiltrating monocytes/macrophages. A concomitant expression of both CSF-1 and fms in in-situ carcinoma was never seen (n = 14). It is therefore proposed that the associated expression of CSF-1 and its receptor may be linked to the invasive potential of breast cancer, the monocytic infiltrate being an indication of the quantitative importance of CSF-1 production by the tumour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma / chemistry
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma in Situ / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / analysis*
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / physiology*
  • Macrophages / chemistry
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Plasma Cells / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / analysis*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor