Validation of new aromatase monoclonal antibodies for immunohistochemistry: progress report

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2003 Sep;86(3-5):239-44. doi: 10.1016/s0960-0760(03)00363-7.


Intratumoral aromatase is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of postmenopausal estrogen-dependent breast cancers. Therefore, reliable methods should be developed for routine application for the detection of intratumoral aromatase. A multi-center collaborative group has been established to generate and validate new aromatase monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). A recombinant GST-aromatase fusion protein was expressed in baculovirus and the purified protein was used for immunization of mice either as a native or formalin-fixed antigen. Hybridomas were generated using standard techniques and screened biochemically prior to immunohistochemistry (IHC) evaluation in human placenta, ovary and breast cancer tissues. Twenty-three MAbs selected by biochemical assays were further evaluated by IHC of paraffin-embedded tissue sections including normal ovary, and placenta, and a small series of 10 breast carcinomas. Of the 23 MAbs, 2 (clones 677 and F2) were determined to specifically stain cell types known to express aromatase in normal tissues. In breast carcinomas staining of malignant epithelium, adipose tissue, normal/benign and stromal compartments was detected. IHC was performed and independently evaluated by three pathologists (HS, TJA and SGS), each using the same evaluation criteria for staining intensity and proportion of immunopositive cells. With these two MAbs, interpathologist and intralaboratory variations were minimal in comparison with differences which could be detected between tissue specimens and antibodies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / biosynthesis
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Aromatase / analysis
  • Aromatase / genetics
  • Aromatase / immunology*
  • Aromatase / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Mice
  • Ovary / enzymology
  • Placenta / enzymology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Aromatase