Phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) is highly expressed in several tumors. We have previously reported that both stable and inducible PLCγ1 down-regulation resulted in an almost complete inhibition of breast cancer-derived experimental lung metastasis formation. The aim of our study is to evaluate the association between the expression of PLCγ1 and of PLCγ1 phosphorylated at Tyr1253 (PLCγ1-pY1253) and at Tyr783 (PLCγ1-pY783) with the clinical outcome of patients with node negative, T1/T2 breast cancers. The study groups consisted of 292 (training set) and 122 (validation set) patients presenting with primary unilateral breast carcinoma (T1-T2), with no evidence of nodal involvement and distant metastases. PLCγ1, PLCγ1-pY1253 and PLCγ1-pY783 protein expression were assessed by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays and the results correlated with the clinical data using Kaplan-Meier curves and multivariate Cox regression analysis. Tumor cells while expressing variable proportions of cytoplasmic PLCγ1, express PLCγ1-pY1253 and PLCγ1-pY783 predominantly in the nucleus. High expression of PLCγ1, and of its activated forms, is associated with a worse clinical outcome in terms of incidence of distant metastases, and not of local relapse in T1-T2, N0 breast cancer patients undergone adjuvant chemotherapy. PLCγ1 over-expression appears to be a reliable predictive surrogate marker of development of metastases. Thus, targeting PLCγ1 pathways might represent a potential therapeutic approach for the prevention of metastatic disease in breast cancer.
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