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J Korean Breast Cancer Soc. 1998 Dec;1(2):215-225. Korean. Original Article.
Lee KS , Koo JY , Chung HC , Suh CO , Lee HD , Lee BC , Jung WH , Yang WI .
Department General Surgery, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department Internal Medicine, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department Radiation oncology, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department Pathology, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Breast cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths in Korean women. Members of the erbB receptor family, the EGF receptor and c-erbB2, c-erbB3 and c-erbB4, are commonly over-expressed in human breast cancer and there is a high correlation with an aggressive breast cancer phenotype and poor patient prognosis. Since the over-expression of the EGF receptor and c-erbB2 suggested that signalling of erbB receptors may contribute to the development and progression of breast cancer, we investigated the correlation of clinicopathological factors and the immunohistochemical expression of c-erbB2, c-erbB3 and c-erbB4. To determine the c-erbB immunoreactivity, we used Rabbit anti-human c-erbB2 oncoprotein (DAKO, Denmark), mouse monoclonal c-erbB3(RTJ.2 Santa Cruz) and rabbit polyclonal antibody c-erbB4(Santa Cruz) directed against each c-erbB protein by immunohistochemistry from paraffin-embedded tissue in a series of 190 women with breast cancer. About 25.8%(49 out of 190 patients) of breast cancers overxpressed c-erbB2, and 40.0%(76 out of 190 patients) and 18.9%(36 out of 190 patients) overxpressed c-erbB and c-erbB4, respectively. Poor histologic grade showed tendency of positive correlation of the positivity of c-erbB2 and 3 but without statistical significance and no correlation with c-erbB4. We observed positive correlations among c-erbB2, c-erbB3 and c-erbB4 expression.(p<0.05) Estrogen receptors (ER) showed incerse correlations with c-erbB2(p=0.001), c-erbB3(p=0.043) and c-erbB4(p=0.197) and progesterone receptors also showed invers correlation with c-erbB(p=0.018). Tumor size (p>0.05) and lymph node status(p>0.05) were not related with c-erbB family expression. The expressions of c-erbB2, c-erbB3 and c-erbB4 showed no survival benefit or no disease free benefit compared to c-erbB family negativity in univariate analysis (Kaplan-Meier life table analysis). Our results suggest that c-erbB2, c-erbB3, and c-erbB4 may regulate the growth of breast cancer by the interactions of these family of growth factor receptor that are dependent of hormonal control.

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