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Collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 protein, periostin and versican in primary and metastatic breast cancer: an immunohistochemical study


Background Collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 (CTHRC1) affects Wnt signalling, collagen deposition and bone formation. It is an extracellular matrix protein which is also abnormally expressed in the tumour microenvironment. CTHRC1 has not been studied in breast cancer by immunohistochemistry.

Aims To examine expression of CTHRC1 together with periostin and versican in breast cancer patients and investigate its association with clinicopathological characteristics.

Methods The formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues of 173 invasive carcinomas (classified into WHO histotypes and luminal, triple negative and Her2 subtypes), as well as normal tissues, precursor lesions and metastatic lymph nodes were stained by relevant antibodies, assessed semiquantitatively by histoscore and statistically evaluated.

Results Expression of CTHRC1, versican and periostin was significantly higher in breast cancer than in normal tissue or precursor lesions. CTHRC1 stromal expression was enhanced in triple negative cases and also in patients with bone metastasis. Periostin expression was high in primary tumours, in particular triple negative ones, and also in their lymph node metastases. Cox regression analysis showed that in patients with high periostin, the risk of bone metastases increased with increased CTHRC1 expression.

Conclusions CTHRC1 and periostin play important roles in breast cancer progression. These preliminary results show that combined evaluation of CTHRC1 and periostin could serve as a potential marker for breast cancer bone metastasis; the other observations contribute to the description of the tumour microenvironment, with implications for lymph node and bone metastasis.

  • CTHRC1
  • periostin
  • versican
  • breast cancer
  • immunohistochemistry
  • prostate
  • molecular pathology

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