Correlation of E-cadherin expression with differentiation grade and histological type in breast carcinoma

Am J Pathol. 1993 Apr;142(4):987-93.


Recently, a correlation has been suggested between a loss of E-cadherin (E-CD) and increased invasiveness of neoplastic cells. In this study, E-CD expression in breast cancer was investigated using an affinity-purified antibody (ECCD-2) in an immunoenzymatic (avidin-biotin-alkaline phosphatase) test. Intensity and extension of E-CD immunoreactivity were evaluated in 61 breast carcinomas and correlated with their histological type and grade, nodal involvement, and hormonal receptor status. Histological types were infiltrating ductal carcinoma of no special type (n = 54) and infiltrating lobular carcinoma (n = 7). All infiltrating ductal carcinomas of no special type except two grade 3 carcinomas showed positive immunoreactivity that was variable among different cases. Grade 1 breast carcinomas (n = 10) showed greater immunoreactivity than grade 2 (n = 25) and grade 3 (n = 19) carcinomas. E-CD immunoreactivity correlated positively with the degree of tubular formation and inversely with the mitoses number. None of the infiltrating lobular carcinomas expressed E-CD in their infiltrating cells, whereas they showed only weak immunostains in areas of atypical lobular hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ. These results indicate that E-CD expression correlates with histological type and grade in breast carcinomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Cadherins