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The Korean Journal of Pathology 2007;41(3): 165-170.
Changes in Protein Expression in Breast Cancer after Anthracycline-Based Chemotherapy.
Ho chang Lee, Jae Ok Lee, In Ae Park
1Department of Pathology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. apark@plaza.snu.ac.kr
2Hormone Research Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.
ABSTRACT
Background : Anthracyclines are the standard agents used to treat patients with advanced breast carcinoma. Some molecules are reportedly associated with anthracycline resistance; however, there has been some controversy surrounding these claims. The gain or loss of certain molecules after chemotherapy can explain the discrepancies in the results. Methods : We evaluated the expression levels of the estrogen receptor (ER), p53, and bcl-2 in specimens obtained from twenty patients with advanced breast cancer before and after anthracyclinebased chemotherapy using immunohistochemistry (IHC). We also examined HER2/neu expression in these specimens using IHC and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. Results : After chemotherapy, one of the twenty cases (5%) showed decreased ER expression, one (5%) showed decreased p53 expression, and one (5%) showed increased bcl-2 expression. IHC and FISH analysis in pre- and post-chemotherapy specimens showed that the expression of HER2/neu changed from equivocal to negative in one case (5%). Conclusion : Our results showed that the expression levels of HER2/neu, ER, p53 and bcl-2 remained stable after chemotherapy, although the statistical significance of these results may not be validated due to the small number of cases. We also suggested that the resistance to anthracycline-based chemotherapy might not be associated with the modification of these molecules.
Key Words: Anthracyclines; Carcinoma, ductal, breast; Drug resistance, neoplasm; Neoadjuvant therapy