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Endothelin-1 expression correlates with atypical histological features in mammary phyllodes tumours
  1. Gary M Tse1,
  2. Benjaporn Chaiwun2,
  3. Kin-Mang Lau1,
  4. Richard Scolyer3,
  5. C Soon Lee3,
  6. Rooshdiya Z Karim3,
  7. Thomas C Putti4,
  8. Bonita K Law5,
  9. Philip C Lui1,
  10. Puay Hoon Tan6
  1. 1Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  2. 2Department of Pathology, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
  3. 3Department of Pathology, University of Sydney, and Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
  4. 4Department of Pathology, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  5. 5The Breast Center, Union Hospital, Hong Kong
  6. 6Department of Pathology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Gary M Tse
    Senior Medical Officer, Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Ngan Shing Street, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong SAR, China; garytse{at}


Background and Aims: Endothelin-1 expression is increased in infiltrating duct carcinoma and is associated with larger tumour size, higher histological grade and lymphovascular permeation. This has not been evaluated in phyllodes tumours, which are uncommon fibroepithelial lesions with potential for local recurrences or distant metastasis. While the grading of phyllodes tumours depends on a combination of histological parameters, prediction of their behaviour remains difficult.

Method: A large series of 461 phyllodes tumours (291 benign, 115 borderline malignant and 55 frankly malignant) were evaluated for endothelin-1 expression in both the epithelial cells and stromal cells by immunohistochemistry; results were correlated with the tumour grade.

Results: For benign phyllodes tumours, the epithelial staining of endothelin was negative, weak, moderate and strong in 6%, 26%, 15% and 53% of cases respectively; results were 4%, 18%, 19% and 59% respectively for borderline and 6%, 18%, 6% and 70% respectively for frankly malignant tumours. For the stromal staining, the negative, weak, moderate and strong staining was 32%, 19%, 18% and 31% respectively for benign phyllodes, 24%, 13%, 10% and 53% respectively for borderline and 8%, 16%, 17% and 59% respectively for frankly malignant tumours. There was correlation between epithelial and stromal staining, and the stromal staining correlated with histological features of stromal cellularity, stromal cell nuclear pleomorphism, margin status and stromal overgrowth.

Conclusion: These observations suggest a close relationship between the epithelial and stromal elements in phyllodes tumours; endothelin may play a significant role in the malignant progression of phyllodes tumours.

  • ET, endothelin
  • ETR, endothelin receptor
  • VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor
  • breast
  • phyllodes tumour
  • endothelin

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  • Published Online First 8 December 2006

  • Competing interests: None declared.