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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Assessing microvessels and angiogenesis in human breast cancer, using VE-cadherin.

AIMS: Vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin, also known as cadherin-5 and CD144, is an adhesion molecule uniquely expressed in endothelial cells. We hypothesized that VE-cadherin may be a useful marker for assessing microvessels and angiogenesis in human breast cancer and sought to determine whether a correlation exists between levels of VE-cadherin, angiogenic markers factor VIII and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM)-1 and patient outcome in breast cancer. METHODS AND RESULTS: Frozen sections from breast cancer primary tumours (tumour n = 114, background n = 30) were immunostained with VE-cadherin, factor VIII and PECAM-1 antibodies and microvessel number was assessed. RNA was reverse transcribed and analysed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR). VE-cadherin immunostaining showed a significant difference in microvessel number in tumour compared with background. There was no significant difference in the number of microvessels stained with PECAM-1 or factor VIII; there was increased staining of other structures within the sample and higher general background staining. Q-PCR revealed elevated levels of VE-cadherin and PECAM-1 in tumour samples compared with background tissue and in patients with a poor prognosis, as determined by the Nottingham Prognostic Index. There was no difference in levels with factor VIII. Both VE-cadherin and PECAM-1 had significantly reduced expression in lobular compared with ductal carcinomas: there was no difference with factor VIII. CONCLUSION: Higher levels of angiogenic marker molecules in breast cancer may have an association with poor prognosis in patients. Moreover, VE-cadherin appears to be a preferable marker for such analysis.[1]


  1. Assessing microvessels and angiogenesis in human breast cancer, using VE-cadherin. Martin, T.A., Watkins, G., Lane, J., Jiang, W.G. Histopathology (2005) [Pubmed]
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