Prognostic value of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 expression in breast cancer

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2011 Aug;137(8):1193-201. doi: 10.1007/s00432-011-0984-2. Epub 2011 May 18.


Purpose: The intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 is expressed on many cell types including endothelial cells and different cancer cell entities. Experimental data strongly indicate that ICAM-1 can activate intracellular signalling pathways in cancer cells leading to enhanced cell motility, invasion and metastasis. Yet, little is known about the role of ICAM-1 expression during malignant progression in breast cancer patients.

Methods: We investigated ICAM-1 protein and mRNA expression in two partly overlapping cohorts of breast cancer patients. ICAM-1 protein was detected by Western blot analysis in 104 cases and verified by immunohistochemistry. Additionally, ICAM-1 mRNA microarray data from 169 tumours were analysed.

Results: With both methods, high ICAM-1 expression was significantly associated with a poorly differentiated phenotype, a negative estrogen receptor (ER) status and positive lymph node involvement. In addition, there was a significant prognostic impact of ICAM-1 protein overexpression on recurrence-free survival (HR = 2.82, P = 0.023), which was most pronounced in ER-negative tumours. ICAM-1 mRNA overexpression was associated with high urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and uPA-inhibitor protein 1 (PAI 1) protein and mRNA levels as well as high Ki67 protein and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA expression.

Conclusions: In our group of patients, ICAM-1 expression was associated with a more aggressive tumour phenotype. Because of its association with malignant progression, ICAM-1 might represent a new target in the treatment of breast cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / chemistry*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / pathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / chemistry*
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Array Analysis / methods
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Up-Regulation
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / analysis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator