Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in metaplastic breast carcinomas with chondroid differentiation: Expression of the E-cadherin repressor snail

Katja Gwin, Rebecca Buell-Gutbrod, Maria Tretiakova, Anthony Montag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process in tumor progression and is induced by the master regulator Snail, a transcription factor that down-regulates epithelial genes, including E-cadherin, and up-regulates mesenchymal genes. Metaplastic breast carcinomas with chondroid differentiation (MBCD) have an epithelial and a mesenchymal chondroid component, giving them morphologic features reminiscent of EMT. To determine whether EMT plays a role in MBCD, we differentially analyzed Snail and E-cadherin expression in 12 tumors by immunohistochemistry. The interface between the tumor components showed a transition from inactive cytoplasmic Snail expression in the carcinoma component to active nuclear Snail expression in the metaplastic cells. Membranous E-cadherin staining was present in the epithelial and absent in the metaplastic component, showing a gradual loss of expression at the interface. E-cadherin expression was inversely correlated with active nuclear Snail expression. Our results suggest that EMT is induced in MBCD and may contribute to their frequent hematogenous metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-531
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

Keywords

  • breast
  • carcinoma
  • chondroid differentiation
  • epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition
  • matrix
  • metaplastic
  • snail

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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