Tenascin-C expression in invasion border of early breast cancer: a predictor of local and distant recurrence

Br J Cancer. 1998 Dec;78(11):1507-13. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1998.714.


We have recently demonstrated an association between distant metastasis and the expression of the extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin-C (Tn-C) in the invasion border of small axillary node-negative breast carcinomas. Our purpose was to assess the relationship between the expression of Tn-C in the tumour invasion border and several histopathological and biological variables and to compare their usefulness in predicting local and distant disease recurrences. The original patient group consisted of 143 women with axillary node-negative breast cancer (one bilateral) treated with breast-conserving surgery and post-operative radiotherapy, and followed for a median of 8 years. Because of the small number of recurrences an additional group of 15 similarly treated women with recurrent breast cancer was also studied. The size of the tumour, its histology, including a possible intraductal component, and grade were re-evaluated. The expression of erbB-2, p53, Ki-67 and Tn-C was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Ploidy and S-phase fraction (SPF) were assessed by flow cytometry. The only statistically significant prognostic factor for local recurrence was Tn-C expression in the invasion border. For metastasis Ki-67 positivity, tumour size and Tn-C expression in the invasion border were statistically significant, but Ki-67 positivity was the only independent prognostic factor. Tn-C expression in the invasion border was associated with a higher proliferation rate measured by Ki-67 and SPF, which is consistent with the suggested growth-promoting activity of Tn-C. Tn-C may be a useful marker in selecting patients for adjuvant therapies to reduce the rate of both local and distant cancer recurrences.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / metabolism
  • Ploidies
  • S Phase
  • Tenascin / metabolism*


  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Tenascin