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Strong association of fascin expression with triple negative breast cancer and basal-like phenotype in African-American women


Background Fascin, an actin bundling protein, plays a critical role in cell motility due to formation of actin rich protrusions called filopodia, important in cell migration, invasion and metastatic spread. Fascin overexpression has been associated with epithelial to mesenchymal transition and correlates with progression and unfavourable prognosis in breast carcinoma.

Objective To evaluate fascin expression by immunohistochemistry and correlate the expression pattern with clinicopathological parameters in breast cancer in African-American (AA) women, in whom triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive subtype, is more prevalent.

Methods Tissue microarrays were constructed from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded blocks of tumour tissue from primary breast carcinomas in 202 AA women. Immunohistochemical detection of fascin was correlated with four major subtypes of breast carcinoma (luminal A, luminal B, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 and triple negative (TN)) and other clinicopathological factors, including age, grade, tumour size, stage, regional lymph node status and survival.

Results We observed a significant association between fascin expression and TN subtype, oestrogen receptor (ER) negativity, progesterone receptor (PR) negativity, Elston–Nottingham (EN) grade 3 and decreased overall survival. There was also a significant association between expression of CK 5/6, a marker of basal-like phenotype, and fascin expression.

Conclusion These results suggest that fascin is a marker for TN subtype having a basal-like phenotype and decreased overall survival. Fascin may represent a target for therapy in TNBC in AA women.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Tumour Markers
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Filament Proteins

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