Prognostic significance of claudin expression changes in breast cancer with regional lymph node metastasis

Clin Exp Metastasis. 2011 Jan;28(1):55-63. doi: 10.1007/s10585-010-9357-5. Epub 2010 Oct 21.


Adherent and tight junction molecules have been described to contribute to carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Additionally, the group of claudin-low tumors have recently been identified as a molecular subgroup of breast carcinoma. In our study, we examined the expression pattern of claudins, beta-catenin and E-cadherin in invasive ductal (IDCs) and lobular (ILCs) carcinomas and their corresponding lymph node metastases (LNMs). Tissue microarrays of 97 breast samples (60 invasive ductal carcinomas, 37 invasive lobular carcinomas) and their corresponding LNMs have been analyzed immunohistochemically for claudin-1, -2, -3, -4, -5, -7, beta-catenin and E-cadherin expression. The stained slides were digitalized with a slide scanner and the reactions were evaluated semiquantitatively. When compared to LNMs, in the IDC group beta-catenin and claudin-2, -3, -4 and -7 protein expression showed different pattern while claudin-1, -2, -3, -4 and -7 were differently expressed in the ILC group. Lymph node metastases developed a notable increase of claudin-5 expression in both groups. Decrease or loss of claudin-1 and expression of claudin-4 in lymph node metastases correlated with reduced disease-free survival in our patients. According to our observations, the expression of epithelial junctional molecules, especially claudins, is different in primary breast carcinomas compared to their lymph node metastases as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. Loss of claudin junctional molecules might contribute to tumor progression, and certain claudin expression pattern might be of prognostic relevance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Claudins / biosynthesis*
  • Claudins / metabolism
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnosis*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Tissue Array Analysis


  • Claudins