One hundred fifty-four axillary lymph node-negative invasive ductal carcinomas of the breast were immunohistochemically evaluated for the expression of cathepsin D. Formalin-fixed paraffin sections of each tumor were stained using a polyclonal antibody raised against recombinant procathepsin D. Cathepsin D content of tumor cells and host histiocytes and fibroblasts within or immediately at the invasive border of tumors were assessed separately and correlated with histomorphology, estrogen-receptor content, and patients' survival data. Positive cathepsin D staining of tumor cells was associated with a lower nuclear grade and well-differentiated histology, whereas moderate to strong staining of host cells correlated with larger tumor size, higher nuclear grade, poorly differentiated histomorphology, and lack of estrogen-receptor (ER) protein. No statistically significant correlation was found between cathepsin D in tumor cells and survival. There was, however, a statistically significant correlation between moderate to strong cathepsin D staining of host cells and shorter disease- free and overall survivals. Expression of cathepsin D by host cells, however, did not have an independent influence on survival. The authors conclude that cathepsin D in stromal cell, but not in tumor cells, is associated with aggressive behavior in nodenegative invasive ductal carcinomas of breast. Furthermore, determination of cathepsin D in cytosolic extracts of tumors is of no practical value because it may represent cathepsin D content of tumor cells, intratumoral host cell, or both.
- breast cancer
- cathepsin D
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine