Fibroblast growth factor-1 (FGF-1) is an inducer of angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. The expression and localization of FGF-1 (acidic FGF) and FGF receptor (FGFR)-1 in mammary tissues from patients with breast cancer was investigated using Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. The affinity-purified FGF-1 antibody which did not have cross-reactivity to FGF-2 (basic FGF) was used in this study. Western blot analysis demonstrated the presence of FGF-1 protein in all of the samples from breast cancer, but not benign tumors such as mastopathy and fibroadenoma. To assess the localization of FGF-1 in cancer tissues, immunostaining with specific antibody was performed. All samples from breast cancer displayed significantly intense staining with FGF-1 antibody. The extent and intensity of immunoreactive FGF-1 polypeptides in cancer cells was statistically much greater than those of cells from fibroadenoma or mastopathy. Control immunostaining with normal rabbit serum or anti-FGF-1 antibody adsorbed with the recombinant FGF-1 polypeptide was completely negative. In contrast to FGF-1, Western blot analysis demonstrated the presence of FGFR-1 protein in all of the samples from breast cancer and benign tumors. By immunohistochemical analysis, the enhanced expression of FGFR-1 was observed in breast cancer cells. Benign tumor cells or interstitial cells displayed a faint expression of FGFR-1. These results demonstrated that breast cancer cells not only generated FGF-1, but also expressed FGFR-1, and FGF-1 might play a role in the proliferation of breast cancer cells not only by paracrine but also by autocrine mechanism.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.