Aims: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is an aggressive subtype of breast cancer with poor prognosis. The mechanisms responsible for the aggressive clinical evolution are incompletely understood. We constructed a tissue microarray (TMA) and validated its use in translational IBC research. Differential expression of proteins that might play a role in causing the IBC phenotype was studied.
Methods and results: A TMA containing 34 IBC and 41 non-stage matched non-IBC tumours was constructed. Five core biopsies were taken for each IBC and three cores for each non-IBC tumour. The TMA was validated using three approaches: (1) the excellent concordance between immunohistochemical results of the initial pathological examination and the results obtained with the TMA for ER, PR and HER2/neu (kappa > 0.74); (2) the known differential expression between IBC and non-IBC for four bio-markers in IBC (ER, PR, p53 and HER2/neu) was confirmed ( p < 0.01); (3) the HER2/neu status using three different antibodies (CB11, TAB250 and HercepTest) was highly concordant (kappa > 0.75). Furthermore, the overexpression of E-Cadherin and RhoC GTPase in IBC ( p < 0.05) was confirmed. We did not find a differential expression pattern for carbonic anhydrase IX (CA IX) and EGFR.
Conclusions: Using different approaches, we have validated the use of our TMA for studying differential protein expression in IBC and non-IBC. We confirm the overexpression of E-Cadherin and RhoC GTPase in IBC. The lack of differential expression for CA IX and EGFR might suggest the pathways are equally utilised in both types of breast cancer.