Overexpression of TNF-alpha and TNFRII in invasive micropapillary carcinoma of the breast: clinicopathological correlations.


AIMS Angiogenesis is essential for tumour growth and metastasis and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha is a potent angiogenic factor. Invasive micropapillary carcinoma of the breast (IMPC), a rare subtype of breast cancer, possesses a lymphotropic nature with a high incidence of lymph node metastasis and poor prognosis. The aim was to evaluate the role of TNF-alpha and its receptor TNFRII in the vascular development and metastasis of IMPC. METHODS AND RESULTS One hundred cases of IMPC and 97 cases of invasive ductal carcinoma, not otherwise specified (IDC) were studied in parallel by immunohistochemistry for TNF-alpha and TNFRII, and microvessel density (MVD) of the tumours was measured. The results showed that the expression of TNF-alpha and TNFRII and the MVD were higher in IMPC than in IDC (P < 0.05). In IMPC, MVD was significantly increased in those with lymph node metastasis compared with those without nodal metastasis (P = 0.001). TNF-alpha expression showed a significant positive correlation with the rate of proliferation, histological grade, lymph node metastasis and MVD (P < 0.05), whereas expression of TNFRII was correlated with TNF-alpha expression and the proliferation of tumour cells in IMPC (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS Expression of TNF-alpha and TNFRII might play an important role in the angiogenesis, tumour cell proliferation and metastasis of IMPC. These markers could represent new targets for therapeutic intervention, i.e. blocking of TNF-alpha and its signal transduction could be a promising tool for treatment.


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