Original Article

Is N-Cadherin Expression Important in Ductal Carcinoma?

Authors: Judy A. King, MD, PhD, Lalita A. Shevde, PhD, Solomon Ofori-Acquah, PhD, Gareth Watkins, BSc, Wen G. Jiang, MD


Objectives: Neural (N)-cadherin is a calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecule that is associated with invasive tumors in breast cancer, but no association with grade or nodal status has been shown in previous studies. The present study examined the expression of N-cadherin in human breast cancer and assessed its prognostic value in long-term patient follow-up (10 years).

Methods: Using real-time polymerase chain reaction, the number of N-cadherin transcripts in normal breasts (n = 32) and infiltrating ductal carcinomas (n = 90) was assessed. The results were then analyzed in relation to grade, nodal involvement, distant metastasis, TNM stage, Nottingham Prognostic Index, and survival over 10 years.

Results: The levels of N-cadherin transcripts (normalized to glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase) in primary tumors were lower in patients with metastases (P = 0.05), with local recurrence (P = 0.037), and those who died as a result of breast cancer (P = 0.038). There was no significant association with grade, nodal status, TNM stage, or Nottingham Prognostic Index.

Conclusion: In ductal carcinomas, decreased levels of N-cadherin (normalized to glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase) in primary tumors correlate with local recurrence and death in long-term follow-up of patients.

Key Points

* Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women.

* Neural-cadherin is a cell adhesion molecule that is involved in adhesion between some types of tumor cells.

* In ductal carcinomas, decreased levels of neural-cadherin in primary tumors correlate with local recurrence and death in long-term follow-up of patients.

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