Grb2 overexpression in nuclei and cytoplasm of human breast cells: a histochemical and biochemical study of normal and neoplastic mammary tissue specimens

J Pathol. 1997 Oct;183(2):195-203. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9896(199710)183:2<195::AID-PATH901>3.0.CO;2-Y.


In 20-30 per cent of human breast cancers, the receptor tyrosine kinases epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and c-erbB2 are overexpressed. This overexpression leads to increased mitogenic signalling and is correlated with poor prognosis. Overexpression of associated adaptor proteins, like Grb2, can also induce upregulation of signalling pathways. In this study, the expression of the Grb2 adaptor protein was determined in both normal human breast tissue and mammary cancers, using immunoblotting experiments and immunostaining on paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Both biochemical and immunohistochemical techniques revealed overexpression of Grb2 in all breast cancer specimens. In addition, although Grb2 protein is described as localized in the cytoplasm, it can also be detected in the nucleus, both in normal and in tumour breast tissue. In tumour breast tissue, 58 per cent of Grb2 protein is found in the nucleus, while 37 per cent is detected in the cytoplasm. In normal breast tissue, 22 per cent of Grb2 is found in the nucleus and 70 per cent in the cytoplasm. These findings indicate that in human breast cancer, Grb2 is overexpressed and appears to be predominantly localized in the nucleus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing*
  • Breast / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Female
  • GRB2 Adaptor Protein
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • GRB2 Adaptor Protein
  • GRB2 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proteins
  • ErbB Receptors