Gene Summary

Gene:SCGB2A2; secretoglobin family 2A member 2
Aliases: MGB1, UGB2, PSBP1
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • DNA, Complementary
  • Keratins
  • Uteroglobin
  • Cancer RNA
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • MUC1
  • Breast
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Glycoproteins
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Chromosome 11
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • WT1
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • DNA Primers
  • Transcription
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Keratin-19
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mammaglobin A
  • Ductal Breast Carcinoma
  • Carcinoma
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Messenger RNA
  • Breast Cancer
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Secretoglobins
  • Circulating Cancer Cells
  • Bone Marrow
  • Staging
  • Carcinoma, Lobular
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Gene Expression
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: SCGB2A2 (cancer-related)

Bahnassy AA, Saber MM, Mahmoud MG, et al.
The role of circulating tumor cells in metastatic breast cancer: prognostic and predictive value.
Mol Biol Rep. 2018; 45(6):2025-2035 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of the current study was to assess the prognostic value of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and their related markers at different points of chemotherapy regimens in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients. The impact of CTCs on progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were also assessed. Peripheral blood samples were obtained from 66 female patients with MBC at different time intervals for evaluation of CTCs by flow cytometry (FC). cytokeratin 19 (CK19), mammaglobin, prolactin inducible peptide (PIP), aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) were also assessed by qRT-PCR. Analysis of different CTC levels (at 4, 5, and 6 cells/7 ml), showed statistically significant values at 4 cells/7 ml blood. The presence of baseline CTCs < 4 cells/7 ml, associated significantly with higher PFS (P value = 0.03). Patients showing a decrease in the CTCs level after treatment had significantly prolonged median PFS and OS rates compared to those whose CTCs level increased (P = 0.007 and P = 0.014; respectively). Mammaglobin, CK19, PIP, ALDH1 and hCG expression did not affect PFS or OS. However, patients with CTCs ≥ 4 at diagnosis had higher rates of progression compared to those with CTCs < 4 (1.9 times, P = 0.07), and who metastasized before 4 years showed a worse decrease outcomes (they were 2.4 time more progressed than those who metastasized after 4 years; P = 0.029). CTCs could be an independent prognostic and predictive biomarker for MBC patients' outcomes. Although none of the assessed genes (mammaglobin, CK19, PIP, ALDH1 and hCG) showed correlation with PFS or OS rates, further studies on a larger number of patients are required to validate the current results.

Bredemeier M, Edimiris P, Mach P, et al.
Gene Expression Signatures in Circulating Tumor Cells Correlate with Response to Therapy in Metastatic Breast Cancer.
Clin Chem. 2017; 63(10):1585-1593 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are thought to be an ideal surrogate marker to monitor disease progression in metastatic breast cancer (MBC). We investigated the prediction of treatment response in CTCs of MBC patients on the basis of the expression of 46 genes.
METHODS: From 45 MBC patients and 20 healthy donors (HD), 2 × 5 mL of blood was collected at the time of disease progression (TP0) and at 2 consecutive clinical staging time points (TP1 and TP2) to proceed with the AdnaTest
RESULTS: The CTC positivity was defined by the four-gene signature (

Liu B, Cui J, Sun J, et al.
Immunolocalization of MMP9 and MMP2 in osteolytic metastasis originating from MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2016; 14(2):1099-106 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)9 and MMP2, and their potential roles in bone metastasis nests using a well-standardized model of breast cancer bone metastasis in nude mice. BALB/c nu/nu mice (5-week-old; n=10) were subjected to intracardiac injection of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. After 4 weeks, the mice exhibiting radiolucent lesions in tibiae were sacrificed, and the tibiae were removed for histochemical analysis. The gene expression of MMP2 and MMP9 in the tumor cells, metaphysis and diaphysis of normal BALB/c nu/nu mice were determined using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis. The metastatic tumor tissue occupied almost the entire bone marrow cavity. Numerous tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-positive osteoclasts were found in the metastasized lesions. The invaded tumor cells positive for mammaglobin 1 exhibited different proliferation activities and apoptosis between the metaphysis and diaphysis. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen was expressed at high levels in the metaphyseal area, whereas TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive cells were more evident in the diaphysis area. Of note, MMP9 was expressed predominantly in the proliferating cell nuclear antigen‑positive area, whereas the expression of MMP2 was observed predominantly in the diaphysis, which had more TUNEL‑positive cells. Taken together, the results suggested that MMP9 and MMP2 may have their own importance in extracellular matrix degradation and trabecular bone damage in different zones of bone metastasis, including the metaphysis and diaphysis.

Ji P, Zhang Y, Wang SJ, et al.
CD44hiCD24lo mammosphere-forming cells from primary breast cancer display resistance to multiple chemotherapeutic drugs.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(6):3293-302 [PubMed] Related Publications
It has been widely suggested that mammosphere-forming cells from tumor cell lines or primary tumors represent the population of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which is supposed to lead to the failure of routine chemotherapy and the recurrence of the disease. However, it is still difficult to obtain CSCs from primary breast cancer for further investigation. We performed a modified culture system to generate mammosphere-forming cells derived from freshly isolated human breast cancer samples and the breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Cancer stem cell-like phenotypes such as CD44 and CD24 were measured by flow cytometry while alkaline phosphatase (AP) and mammaglobin (MGB1) expression was evaluated immunohistochemically. The expression levels of Klf4, Nanog, Oct4, Sox2 and mdr1 genes were analyzed by quantitative real‑time PCR. Resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs was detected through the apoptosis assay upon drug treatments together with the detection of drug-resistant gene mdr1. The results revealed that we successfully obtained mammosphere‑forming cells from the primary breast cancer in conditioned medium after 14 days of culture. Mammosphere-forming cells from primary breast cancer displayed a CD44hiCD24lo phenotype as well as positive AP and MGB1 reactivity. Stem cell-related genes such as Klf4, Nanog and Oct4 were detectably expressed in these cells. These cells formed tumor-like structures in the lymph nodes of nude mice, which were morphologically and histologically similar to breast cancer. Compared to the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 or mammosphere-forming cells from MCF-7 cells, the mammosphere-forming cells from the primary breast cancer exhibited resistance to three of four first-line chemotherapeutic drugs investigated through the induction of apoptosis, which was largely associated with the increased expression of drug-resistant gene mdr1 upon drug treatment. In conclusion, mammosphere-forming cells generated from the primary breast cancer exhibit CSC-like properties together with multiple drug resistance. Determination of the sensitivity of these primary cancer-derived mammosphere-forming cells to chemotherapeutic drugs may thus provide useful instructions for individualized therapy against the recurrence of breast cancer in the future.

Picot N, Guerrette R, Beauregard AP, et al.
Mammaglobin 1 promotes breast cancer malignancy and confers sensitivity to anticancer drugs.
Mol Carcinog. 2016; 55(7):1150-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mammaglobin 1 (MGB1), a member of the secretoglobin family, is expressed in mammary epithelial tissues and is overexpressed in most mammary carcinomas. Despite the extensive research correlating MGB1 expression profiles to breast cancer pathogenesis and disease outcome, the biological significance of MGB1 in cancer processes is still unclear. We have thus set out to conduct a functional evaluation of the molecular and cellular roles of MGB1 in breast cancer processes leading to disease progression. Using a series of breast cancer cell models with conditional MGB1 expression, we demonstrate that MGB1 promotes cancer cell malignant features. More specifically, loss of MGB1 expression resulted in a decrease of cell proliferation, soft agar spheroid formation, migration, and invasion capacities of breast cancer cells. Concomitantly, we also observed that MGB1 expression activates signaling pathways mediated by MAPK members (p38, JNK, and ERK), the focal adhesion kinase (FAK), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and NFκB. Moreover, MGB1 regulates epithelial to mesenchymal (EMT) features and modulates Snail, Twist and ZEB1 expression levels. Interestingly, we also observed that expression of MGB1 confers breast cancer cell sensitivity to anticancer drug-induced apoptosis. Together, our results support a role for MGB1 in tumor malignancy in exchange for chemosensitivity. These findings provide one of the first descriptive overview of the molecular and cellular roles of MGB1 in breast cancer processes and may offer new insight to the development of therapeutic and prognostic strategies in breast cancer patients. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ra SH, Su A, Li X, et al.
Keratoacanthoma and squamous cell carcinoma are distinct from a molecular perspective.
Mod Pathol. 2015; 28(6):799-806 [PubMed] Related Publications
Keratoacanthoma is a controversial entity. Some consider keratoacanthoma as a variant of squamous cell carcinoma, whereas others see it as a distinct self-resolving squamoproliferative lesion. Our objective is to examine the relationship of keratoacanthoma with squamous cell carcinoma and normal skin by using DNA microarrays. DNA microarray studies were performed on formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded blocks from ten cases of actinic keratoacanthoma utilizing the U133plus2.0 array. These results were compared with our previously developed microarray database of ten squamous cell carcinoma and ten normal skin samples. Keratoacanthoma demonstrated 1449 differentially expressed genes in comparison with squamous cell carcinoma (>5-fold change: P<0.01) with 908 genes upregulated and 541 genes downregulated. Keratoacanthoma showed 2435 differentially expressed genes in comparison with normal skin (>5-fold change: P<0.01) with 1085 genes upregulated and 1350 genes downregulated. The most upregulated genes, comparing keratoacanthoma with normal skin included MALAT1, S100A8, CDR1, TPM4, and CALM1. The most downregulated genes included SCGB2A2, DCD, THRSP, ADIPOQ, adiponectin, and ADH1B. The molecular biological pathway analysis comparing keratoacanthoma with normal skin showed that cellular development, cellular growth and proliferation, cell death/apoptosis, and cell cycle pathways are prominently involved in the pathogenesis of keratoacanthoma. The most enriched canonical pathways were clathrin-mediated endocytosis signaling, molecular mechanisms of cancer and integrin signaling. The distinctive gene expression profile of keratoacanthoma reveals that it is molecularly distinct from squamous cell carcinoma. The molecular pathways and genes differentially expressed in comparing keratoacanthoma with normal skin suggest that keratoacanthoma is a neoplasm that can regress due to upregulation of the cell death/apoptosis pathway.

Salvo P, Henry OY, Dhaenens K, et al.
Fabrication and functionalization of PCB gold electrodes suitable for DNA-based electrochemical sensing.
Biomed Mater Eng. 2014; 24(4):1705-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
The request of high specificity and selectivity sensors suitable for mass production is a constant demand in medical research. For applications in point-of-care diagnostics and therapy, there is a high demand for low cost and rapid sensing platforms. This paper describes the fabrication and functionalization of gold electrodes arrays for the detection of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in printed circuit board (PCB) technology. The process can be implemented to produce efficiently a large number of biosensors. We report an electrolytic plating procedure to fabricate low-density gold microarrays on PCB suitable for electrochemical DNA detection in research fields such as cancer diagnostics or pharmacogenetics, where biosensors are usually targeted to detect a small number of genes. PCB technology allows producing high precision, fast and low cost microelectrodes. The surface of the microarray is functionalized with self-assembled monolayers of mercaptoundodecanoic acid or thiolated DNA. The PCB microarray is tested by cyclic voltammetry in presence of 5 mM of the redox probe K3Fe(CN6) in 0.1 M KCl. The voltammograms prove the correct immobilization of both the alkanethiol systems. The sensor is tested for detecting relevant markers for breast cancer. Results for 5 nM of the target TACSTD1 against the complementary TACSTD1 and non-complementary GRP, MYC, SCGB2A1, SCGB2A2, TOP2A probes show a remarkable detection limit of 0.05 nM and a high specificity.

Fischer K, von Brünneck AC, Hornung D, et al.
Differential expression of secretoglobins in normal ovary and in ovarian carcinoma--overexpression of mammaglobin-1 is linked to tumor progression.
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2014; 547:27-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
Secretoglobins (SCGB), such as mammaglobin 1 (MGB1, SCGB2A2), mammaglobin 2 (MGB2, SCGB2A1) and lipophilin B (LIPB, SCGB1D2), have been related to carcinogenesis. We profiled expression of MGB1, MGB2 and LIPB in human tissues and ovarian carcinoma and explored the impact of SCGB overexpression on cell proliferation. MGB1, MGB2 and LIPB mRNA are expressed at variable levels in most human tissues and we observed significant bilateral correlations between the different secretoglobins. Concerted overexpression of MGB1 and LIPB resulted in significant increase in cell proliferation. In clinical specimens of ovarian carcinoma we measured elevated concentrations of secretoglobin mRNA and for MGB1 this up-regulation was confirmed on the protein level. Overexpression of MGB1 positively correlated with the FIGO stage, the tumor grade and the mitotic index suggesting a patho-physiological role of the protein. Our data indicate that MGB1, MGB2 and LIPB mRNAs are expressed at low levels in human tissues but basal expression is upregulated in ovarian cancer. The in vivo correlation between nuclear MGB1 localization and the mitotic rate in ovarian cancer as well as the increased cell proliferation induced by secretoglobin overexpression in ovarian cancer cell lines suggest a pathophysiological role of these proteins in ovarian cancer.

Supernat A, Łapińska-Szumczyk S, Majewska H, et al.
A multimarker qPCR platform for the characterisation of endometrial cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(2):1003-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
The molecular background of endometrial cancer (EC) has not been fully elucidated. In the present study, we developed a quantitative PCR (qPCR) platform to examine the gene dosages of the potential molecular markers MGB1, TOP2A, ERBB1-4, MYC, CCND1, ESR1 and PI3K. The platform was applied in samples collected from 157 EC patients (stage I-IV) to verify its clinical utility and to examine the diagnostic and prognostic significance of the analysed biomarkers. The gene dosage pattern of the ERBB family and its downstream effectors PI3K and MYC showed particularly strong correlations with clinicopathological data. The ERBB PI3K/Akt pathway was upregulated in 31 (20%) of 156 cases. Activation of the ERBB PI3K/Akt pathway was positively correlated with a higher stage (p=0.001), higher grade (p=0.001), histological type II disease (p=0.0003) and metastases (p=0.02). The implemented hierarchical clustering revealed that cluster 2 was characterised by high copy numbers of the studied genes. Cluster 2 was associated with shorter overall survival (p=0.05). The platform was found to be a fast and simple method for direct analysis of the genes involved in uterine carcinogenesis, making it feasible for EC biology characterisation.

Koh EH, Cho YW, Mun YJ, et al.
Upregulation of human mammaglobin reduces migration and invasion of breast cancer cells.
Cancer Invest. 2014; 32(1):22-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Little is known about the biological role of human mammaglobin (hMAM) that is considered as a promising marker for breast cancer. Here, we investigated hMAM's role related to migration and invasion of human breast cancer cells (hBCC). Compared to normal cells, hBCC have high MAM mRNA expression levels. Of the hBCC tested, MAM mRNA expression levels were higher in noninvasive than in invasive cells. Overexpression of hMAM in breast cancer cells decreased migration and invasion, whereas knockdown of hMAM increased both. Taken together, these results suggest that metastasis of hBCC could be controlled by hMAM expression levels.

Lee GW, Kim JY, Koh EH, et al.
Plasma human mammaglobin mRNA associated with poor outcome in patients with breast cancer.
Genet Mol Res. 2012; 11(4):4034-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
Different treatment outcomes and prognoses in patients with breast cancer can be observed with similar clinical predictors; this is because the biology of breast cancer is complex and heterogenous, involving multiple unknown contributing factors. We looked for plasma human mammaglobin (hMAM) mRNA by RT-PCR in 82 Korean patients with breast cancer to determine if there is an association between the presence of plasma hMAM mRNA in these patients and known prognostic factors. The prognostic usefulness of detection of plasma hMAM mRNA expression in these patients was also evaluated by determining overall survival and event-free survival. A significant difference was observed in the rate of positivity of plasma hMAM mRNA between the early stages of cancer (stages I-II, 23.4%) and advanced stages (stages III-IV, 82.9%). The expression rates of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER-2/neu in the breast tissue of these patients, by immunohistochemistry, were 69.5, 75.6, and 20.7%, respectively. In the univariate analysis, plasma hMAM expression was significantly correlated with high histological and nuclear grades, nodal metastasis, and negative estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor status. Patients negative for plasma hMAM mRNA had significantly higher rates of event-free survival compared to the patients positive for plasma hMAM mRNA. However, no significant association with overall survival was observed for expression of plasma hMAM mRNA (P = 0.16). Qualitative detection of plasma hMAM mRNA appears to be associated with unfavorable prognostic factors and lower rates of event-free survival in patients with breast cancer.

de Albuquerque A, Kubisch I, Ernst D, et al.
Development of a molecular multimarker assay for the analysis of circulating tumor cells in adenocarcinoma patients.
Clin Lab. 2012; 58(5-6):373-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is emerging as a promising diagnostic tool in oncology. However, even if a variety of methods for CTC isolation have been already developed, their specificity and/or sensitivity still remain problematic. The aim of this study was to develop an immunomagnetic/real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay for the molecular detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood (PB) of adenocarcinoma cancer patients.
METHODS: The presence of CTCs was evaluated in 945 PB blood samples from 247 adenocarcinoma cancer patients and in 42 healthy controls by immunomagnetic enrichment using the antibodies BM7 and VU1D9 followed by real-time RT-PCR analysis of the marker genes KRT19, MUC1, EPCAM, CEACAM5, BIRCS, SCGB2A2, and ERBB2.
RESULTS: The developed assay showed not only high specificity, as none of the healthy controls were found positive for the multimarker gene panel, but also great sensitivity as CTCs were detected in adenocarcinomas arising from 10 different organs. According to tumor primary origin, CTC positivity was detected in 33.3% of Ampulla of Vater adenocarcinomas, 69.6% of bile ducts adenocarcinomas, 61.3% of breast adenocarcinomas, 61.3% of cardia adenocarcinomas, 60.6% of colon adenocarcinomas, 66.7% of esophagus adenocarcinomas, 57.1% of pancreas adenocarcinomas, 66.7% of rectum adenocarcinomas, 33.3% of small intestine adenocarcinomas, and 62.2% of stomach adenocarcinomas.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the current developed technique can be used to detect CTCs in all major adenocarcinomas, with great sensitivity without compromising specificity.

Krech T, Scheuerer E, Geffers R, et al.
ABCB1/MDR1 contributes to the anticancer drug-resistant phenotype of IPH-926 human lobular breast cancer cells.
Cancer Lett. 2012; 315(2):153-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Contribution of the ABCB1/MDR1/P-glycoprotein drug transporter to breast cancer resistance has been controversial. One issue is that ABCB1-dependent drug-resistance has primarily been investigated in mammary epithelial cell models technically manipulated to overexpress ABCB1, either by gene transfer using appropriate expression vectors or by chronic anticancer drug-selection. However, an unmodified human breast cancer cell line with an endogenous overexpression of ABCB1 has not been described thus far. Using Affymetrix microarray analyses, we identified an endogenous overexpression of several tumor-biologically relevant transcripts including ABCB1, BCAR4, CCL28, SCGB2A2 and PIP in IPH-926, an anticancer drug-resistant human lobular breast cancer cell line derived from a chemo-refractory mammary carcinoma patient. In a panel of twenty breast cancer cell lines examined, overexpression of ABCB1 mRNA and protein was exclusively detected in IPH-926. This was further validated using chronically in vitro drug-selected KB-V-1 cells as a widely used reference model to accurately define an ABCB1 overexpression. IPH-926 and KB-V-1 displayed a similar overexpression of ABCB1. Flow cytometric analyses showed that IPH-926 but not ABCB1-negative breast cancer cells extruded the anticancer agent doxorubicin, a classical substrate of the ABCB1 drug transporter. PSC-833 (valspodar), a selective ABCB1 inhibitor, blocked this efflux, restored apoptotic PARP cleavage and increased doxorubicin sensitivity in IPH-926 and KB-V-1. To our knowledge, IPH-926 represents the first human breast cancer cell line with a genuine, endogenous overexpression of ABCB1. IPH-926 provides evidence that ABCB1 can occasionally cause anticancer drug-resistance in breast cancer patients and offers a new tool for the evaluation of compounds to overcome drug-resistance.

Reinholz MM, Kitzmann KA, Tenner K, et al.
Cytokeratin-19 and mammaglobin gene expression in circulating tumor cells from metastatic breast cancer patients enrolled in North Central Cancer Treatment Group trials, N0234/336/436/437.
Clin Cancer Res. 2011; 17(22):7183-93 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate the associations between baseline and posttreatment circulating tumor cell (CTC) gene expression and outcome of patients enrolled in four North Central Cancer Treatment Group metastatic breast cancer (MBC) trials in which specimens were shipped (at 4°C) from community-based sites to a reference laboratory (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN).
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Blood was collected at treating sites from MBC patients before (baseline), during, and at the end of treatment with erlotinib + gemcitabine (N0234), sorafenib (N0336), irinotecan + cetuximab (N0436), or paclitaxel-poliglumex + capecitabine (N0437). CTCs from 10 mL of EDTA blood were enriched with CD45 depletion, 24 to 30 hours postblood collection. Reverse transcription/quantitative PCR was used to determine cytokeratin-19 (CK19) and mammaglobin (MGB1) mRNA levels in CTCs from up to 13 (N0234), 16 (N0336), 18 (N0436), and 39 (N0437) patients. The gene expressions were normalized to β(2)-microglobulin and calibrated to healthy blood using the 2(-ΔΔCq) algorithm; positivity was defined as 2 or more.
RESULTS: CK19+mRNA cells were detected in 56% to 75% and MGB1+mRNA cells in 23% to 38% of 86 patients at baseline. CK19+mRNA cells were detected in 30% to 67% and MGB1+mRNA cells in 14% to 64% of 110 postbaseline serial samples. The presence of baseline CK19+mRNA cells (P = 0.01) but not MGB1+mRNA cells (P = 0.14) was significantly associated with shorter overall survival. A decrease in MGB1+mRNA levels (baseline-week 8) seemed to be associated with clinical response (P = 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: CTC gene expression analysis conducted by a reference laboratory is feasible when blood is collected from treating sites and processed 24 to 30 hours postcollection. The presence of baseline CK19+mRNA CTCs was associated with poor prognosis; a decrease in MGB1+mRNA CTCs may help predict response to therapy of MBC patients.

Wallwiener CW, Wallwiener M, Kurth RR, et al.
Molecular detection of breast cancer metastasis in sentinel lymph nodes by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR): identifying, evaluating and establishing multi-marker panels.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011; 130(3):833-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
The potential advantage of using quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) methodology to detect metastasis in sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) of breast cancer (BC) patients was evaluated in this prospective study. We measured the expression of relevant gene transcripts in SLNs using an innovative algorithm and compared the results of single-marker assays versus multi-marker assays with conventional histological detection methods. SLNs from women aged ≥ 18 years diagnosed with unilateral BC were examined by haematoxylin-eosin staining and immunohistochemistry and analysed for transcripts of several relevant genes using qRT-PCR (learning group). Four candidate panels of expressed transcript combinations with high sensitivity and specificity were selected for further investigation. The candidate panels were then validated using SLNs from a second group of BC patients (validation group). In the learning group, 74/314 SLN sections from 150 patients were positive for metastasis by histology. The transcripts analysed showed the following individual sensitivities/specificities: cytokeratin 19 (CK19) 94.6%/97.9%; mammaglobin 1 (MGB1) 82.4%/91.7%; mammaglobin 2 (MGB2) 82.4%/96.7%; carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) 71.6%/97.5%; EPCAM (epithelial cell adhesion molecule) 91.9%/97.1%; and NY-BR-1 82.4%/93.8%. The optimal panel based on the predefined criteria comprised four markers: CK19, MGB1, EPCAM, and NY-BR-1, of which ≥ 2 had to be positive (95.9% sensitivity, 95.0% specificity, 85.5% positive predictive value (PPV), and 98.7% negative predictive value (NPV)). Overall concordance with histology was 95.2%. In the validation group, 84/315 SLN sections from 235 patients were histologically positive, and panel sensitivity, specificity and overall accuracy were 88.1, 95.2 and 93.3%, respectively, at the SLN section level. In conclusion, molecular staging using expression patterns of relevant transcripts in SLNs could serve as a useful complement to standard diagnostic work-up in BC patients. The proposed flexible multi-parametric approach does not improve the overall accuracy compared with the single-marker approach. However, it overcomes several limitations of the previously reported molecular assays for SLN diagnosis.

Al-Joudi FS, Kaid FA, Ishak I, et al.
Expression of human mammaglobin and clinicopathologic correlations in breast cancer: the findings in Malaysia.
Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2011 Apr-Jun; 54(2):284-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Human mammaglobin (hMAG) is a secreted protein which has been detected in breast epithelial cells of mammary glands and has been used as a specific marker for breast cancer.
OBJECTIVES: This study aims at studying the hMAG expression and identifying the significant predictors of hMAG expression in breast cancer tissues.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The tissue samples were obtained from two major teaching hospitals in the country. They were examined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and the hMAG expression was evaluated using an established scoring system.
RESULTS: Out of 84 breast cancer tissue samples, hMAG was expressed in 50 samples (59.6%). The expression of hMAG was found to be increased with cancer grade. The output of logistic regression model showed that hMAG was overexpressed in breast cancer samples from the first hospital (P = 0.014), but not with those from the second hospital.
CONCLUSIONS: It can be concluded that hMAG may serve in the diagnosis and the assessment of progression with the increased cancer grade. The dominance in hMAG expression in samples from HUSM may correlate with ethnic, environmental or genetic factors.

Dono M, Ferro P, Franceschini MC, et al.
Human mammaglobin transcript amplification for differential diagnosis in a breast cancer metastatic to dura mater.
Anticancer Res. 2011; 31(3):1061-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In breast cancer (BC), metastases to the central nervous system usually arise in women with advanced disease. Diagnosis of leptomeningeal (LM) metastasis is based on neurological symptoms, imaging studies and cytological detection of malignant cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). However, often these approaches are not sensitive enough to recognize leptomeninges involvement and subsequently to make a diagnosis of LM carcinomatosis. This study investigated the employment of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the human mammaglobin (hMAM) gene in a case of BC with cerebral metastases in which the involvement of the leptomeninges was in doubt.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Amplification of hMAM mRNA was performed from CSF cells by RT-PCR.
RESULTS: No amplification of hMAM was obtained from the CSF cells.
CONCLUSION: RT-PCR for human mammaglobin mRNA of the CSF in BC patients with brain metastases may aid clinical determination of LM involvement and consequently the choice of the most effective therapy regimens for affected patients.

Markou A, Strati A, Malamos N, et al.
Molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells in breast cancer by a liquid bead array hybridization assay.
Clin Chem. 2011; 57(3):421-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is crucial to identify novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets for individualized therapies. We developed a multiplexed PCR-coupled liquid bead array to detect the expression of multiple genes in CTCs.
METHODS: mRNA isolated from immunomagnetically enriched CTCs was subjected to multiplex PCR for KRT19 (keratin 19; also known as CK19), ERBB2 [v-erb-b2 erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog 2, neuro/glioblastoma derived oncogene homolog (avian); also known as HER2], SCGB2A2 (secretoglobin, family 2A, member 2; also known as MGB1, mammaglobin A), MAGEA3 (melanoma antigen family A, 3), TWIST-1 [twist homolog 1 (Drosophila)], and HMBS (hydroxymethylbilane synthase; also known as PBGD). Biotinylated amplicons were hybridized against fluorescent microspheres carrying gene-specific capture probes and incubated with streptavidin-phycoerythrin. We quantified the captured labeled amplicons and decoded the beads by Luminex flow cytometry. The assay was validated for limit of detection, specificity, and comparison with reverse-transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), and its clinical performance was evaluated in 64 patients with operable breast cancer, 20 patients with metastasis, and 17 healthy individuals.
RESULTS: The assay was specific for each gene in complex multiplexed formats and could detect the expression of each gene at the level of a single SK-BR-3 cell. The assay produced results comparable to those for RT-qPCR for each gene. None of the genes tested was detected in the CTC fraction of healthy donors. We detected KRT19, ERBB2, MAGEA3, SCGB2A2, and TWIST1 in 26.6%, 12.5%, 18.7%, 10.9%, and 31.2% of operable breast cancer patients, respectively, and detected the corresponding genes in 65%, 20%, 30%, 20%, and 20% of patients with verified metastasis, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The expression of 6 genes in CTCs can be measured simultaneously and reliably, thereby saving precious sample and reducing the costs and time of analysis.

Tjensvoll K, Oltedal S, Farmen RK, et al.
Disseminated tumor cells in bone marrow assessed by TWIST1, cytokeratin 19, and mammaglobin A mRNA predict clinical outcome in operable breast cancer patients.
Clin Breast Cancer. 2010; 10(5):378-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate the prognostic relevance of disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) in bone marrow (BM) assessed by a multimarker mRNA panel consisting of TWIST1, cytokeratin 19 (CK19) and human mammaglobin A (hMAM) mRNA, in patients with early breast cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: TWIST1 (gene name: TWIST1), CK19 (gene name: KRT19), and hMAM (gene name: SCGB2A2) mRNA was quantitated in BM samples from 191 operable breast cancer patients by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
RESULTS: Using the highest relative mRNA concentration of TWIST1 in the control population as a cut-off, 5 of the 191 breast cancer patients showed elevated TWIST1 mRNA levels in their BM by real-time RT-PCR. Two of these patients experienced a systemic relapse during a median follow-up of 98 months. Combining these results with previous hMAM and CK19 mRNA quantifications in the same BM samples, 12 (40%) of the 30 patients with BM positive for at least 1 marker (multimarker positive) experienced a systemic relapse as compared with 18 (11%) of the 161 patients with multimarker-negative BMs. The patients with multimarker-positive BM had significantly shorter systemic recurrence-free survival (P < .001, log-rank test), breast cancer-specific survival (P < .001), and overall survival (P = .03). The prognostic relevance of BM multimarker detection appeared to be independent of adjuvant treatment, although the difference was not statistically significant in the subgroup of patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy. Multivariate analysis demonstrated the BM multimarker panel status to be a strong independent predictor of clinical outcome.
CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrated the prognostic relevance of BM DTCs assessed by a multimarker mRNA panel consisting of TWIST1, CK19, and hMAM in operable breast cancer patients.

Matuschek C, Bölke E, Lammering G, et al.
Methylated APC and GSTP1 genes in serum DNA correlate with the presence of circulating blood tumor cells and are associated with a more aggressive and advanced breast cancer disease.
Eur J Med Res. 2010; 15:277-86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumor-related methylated DNA and circulating tumor cells (CTC) in the peripheral blood might be of prognostic importance in breast cancer. Thus, the aim of our study was to examine free methylated DNA and CTC in the blood from breast cancer patients and to correlate it with clinicopathological features known to influence prognosis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We prospectively obtained serum samples from 85 patients with breast cancer and 22 healthy volunteers. Sera were analysed by methylation specific PCR (MethyLight PCR) for five genes: adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), ras association domain family protein 1A (RASSF1A), estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1), CDKN2A (p16) and glutathione s-transferase pi 1 (GSTP1). Beta actin (ACTB) served as control. In parallel matched peripheral blood of 63 patients was used to assay for circulating tumor cells in the peripheral blood by a modified immunomagnetic AdnaTest BreastCancerSelect with PCR detection for EPCAM, MUC1, MGB1 and SPDEF.
RESULTS: A hypermethylation in the APC gene in 29% (25/85), in RASSF1A in 26% (22/85), in GSTP1 in 18% (14/76) and in ESR1 in 38% (32/85) of all breast cancer patients was detected. No hypermethylation of CDKN2A was found (0/25). Blood samples of patients were defined CTC positive by detecting the EPCAM 13% (8/63), MUC1 16% (10/63), MGB 9% (5/55), SPDEF 12% (7/58) and in 27% detecting one or more genes (15/55). A significant difference was seen in methylated APC DNA between cancer patients and healthy volunteers. Moreover, methylated APC, RASSF1 and CTC were significantly different in metastatic versus non-metastatic disease. In addition, the presence of methylated APC, RASSF1A and CTC correlated significantly with AJCC-staging (p = 0.001, p = 0.031 and 0.002, respectively). High incidences of methylations were found for the genes RASSF1 and ESR1 in healthy individuals (both 23% 5/22). Methylated GSTP1 was predominantly found in the serum of patients with large primaries (p = 0.023) and was highly significantly correlated with positive Her2/neu status (p = 0.003). Elevated serum CA15.3 was strongly correlated with methylated APC and CTC detection (both p = 0.000). Methylated ESR1 failed to exhibit significant correlations with any of the above mentioned parameters. The presence of CTC in peripheral blood was significantly associated with methylated APC (p = 0.012) and methylated GSTP1 (p = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: The detection of methylated APC and GSTP1 DNA in serum correlated with the presence of CTC in the blood of breast cancer patients. Both methylated DNA and CTC correlated with a more aggressive tumor biology and advanced disease.

Ferro P, Franceschini MC, Bacigalupo B, et al.
Detection of circulating tumour cells in breast cancer patients using human mammaglobin RT-PCR: association with clinical prognostic factors.
Anticancer Res. 2010; 30(6):2377-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: So far discordant results regarding the significance of tumour cells circulating in peripheral blood (CTCs) of breast cancer (BC) patients have been reported. Our aim was to evaluate the association of indirect CTC detection by amplification of human mammaglobin (hMAM) gene expression with traditional prognostic markers of clinical outcome in BC at the time of diagnosis.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Peripheral blood samples from 190 patients with invasive and 12 patients with in situ BC, before therapy and/or surgery, from 184 patients with benign breast disease and from 146 healthy volunteers were tested for hMAM expression by a nested reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay. Correlations between CTCs and age at diagnosis, tumour type and size, grading, lymph node involvement, oestrogen and progesterone receptor status, HER-2/neu expression and Ki-67/MIB-1 labelling index were assessed through the odds ratio (OR) point estimates, considering OR >2.0 or <0.5 as being clinically relevant. ORs and their corresponding 95% confidence limits (95% CL) were obtained by logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: Expression of hMAM was found only in peripheral blood of patients with invasive BC (9.5%) and multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated its association with lymph node involvement (pN1-pN3 vs. pN0, OR=5.6, 95% CL=1.4-22.6; p=0.009), tumour size (pT2-pT4 vs. pT1, OR=2.3, 95% CL=0.6-9.0; p=0.207) and negative ER status (OR=2.5, 95% CL=0.6-10.0; p=0.227).
CONCLUSION: Our data show that CTC detection in invasive BC at the time of diagnosis is associated with poor prognosis and may also be used as an additional prognostic indicator.

Tafe LJ, Schwab MC, Lefferts JA, et al.
A validation study of a new molecular diagnostic assay: the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center experience with the GeneSearch BLN assay in breast sentinel lymph nodes.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2010; 88(1):1-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Sentinel lymph node (SLN) processing remains variable in terms of performing multiple tissue levels and immunohistochemical (IHC) or PCR-based assays. A rapid and reliable molecular pathology assay, as an adjunct to routine SLN processing, could minimize and standardize the histologic evaluation needed for an accurate and clinically significant diagnosis. We compared the recently FDA-approved Veridex GeneSearch Breast Lymph Node (BLN) Assay (Veridex, LLC; Warren, NJ), a real time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay that is designed to detect metastases >0.2 mm, with our standard lymph node processing.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The GeneSearch BLN assay evaluates RNA expression data for three target genes (mammaglobin, cytokeratin 19, and internal control porphobilinogen deaminase), and provides a qualitative (positive/negative) result. In 59 patients, the assay was performed on SLN tissue that would normally be deep within the tissue block and not routinely evaluated histologically. Two 1 -mm slices from the outer node portions were submitted fresh for RNA extraction; the remaining tissue was submitted for routine histology.
RESULTS: Of the 59 patients, the assay determined 43 as true negative, eight as true positive, one as false-negative, three as false-positive, and four as invalid. Assay sensitivity was 88.9%, specificity 93.5%.
DISCUSSION: The sensitivity of the assay sampling from the outer node tissue was high (88.9%) and identical to that validated in the large registration study in which half of the node was assessed as alternate slices (87.6%). Our protocol uses this assay as an adjunct to traditional histologic evaluation, to reduce and standardize the number of tissue sections needed for thorough SLN evaluation, and to enhance our ability to bank RNA.

Bölke E, Orth K, Gerber PA, et al.
Gene expression of circulating tumour cells in breast cancer patients.
Eur J Med Res. 2009; 14(10):426-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The diagnostic tools to predict the prognosis in patients suffering from breast cancer (BC) need further improvements. New technological achievements like the gene profiling of circulating tumour cells (CTC) could help identify new prognostic markers in the clinical setting. Furthermore, gene expression patterns of CTC might provide important informations on the mechanisms of tumour cell metastasation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed realtime-PCR and multiplex-PCR analyses following immunomagnetic separation of CTC. Peripheral blood (PB) samples of 63 patients with breast cancer of various stages were analyzed and compared to a control group of 14 healthy individuals. After reverse-transcription, we performed multiplex PCR using primers for the genes ga733.3, muc-1 and c-erbB2. Mammaglobin1, spdef and c-erbB2 were analyzed applying realtime-PCR.
RESULTS: ga733.2 overexpression was found in 12.7% of breast cancer cases, muc-1 in 15.9%, mgb1 in 9.1% and spdef in 12.1%. In this study, c-erbB2 did not show any significant correlation to BC, possibly due to a highly ambient expression. Besides single gene analyses, gene profiles were additionally evaluated. Highly significant correlations to BC were found in single gene analyses of ga733.2 and muc-1 and in gene profile analyses of ga733.3*muc-1 and GA7 ga733.3*muc-1*mgb1*spdef.
CONCLUSION: Our study reveals that the single genes ga733.3, muc-1 and the gene profiles ga733.3*muc-1 and ga733.3*3muc-1*mgb1*spdef can serve as markers for the detection of CTC in BC. The multigene analyses found highly positive levels in BC patients. Our study indicates that not single gene analyses but subtle patterns of multiple genes lead to rising accuracy and low loss of specificity in detection of breast cancer cases.

Bölke E, Orth K, Gerber PA, et al.
Gene expression of circulating tumour cells and its correlation with tumour stage in breast cancer patients.
Eur J Med Res. 2009; 14(8):359-63 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer (BC) represents one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths worldwide. New tools for diagnostic staging and therapeutic monitoring are needed to improve individualized therapies and improve clinical outcome. The analyses of circulating tumour cells may provide important prognostic information in the clinical setting.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Circulating tumour cells (CTC) of 63 BC patients were isolated from peripheral blood (PB) through immunomagnetic separation. Subsequently, RT-PCR or mPCR for the genes ga733.2, muc-1, c-erbB2, mgb-1, spdef and c-erbB2 were performed. Subsequently, expression data were correlated with the tumour stages. Fourteen healthy individuals served as controls.
RESULTS: Significant correlations with tumour stages were found in single gene analyses of ga733.2, muc-1 and in multi-gene analyses of ga733.2/muc-1/mgb1/ spdef. Furthermore, a significant correlation of Ca 15-3 and all studied genes was also observed.
CONCLUSION: Herein, we demonstrated a positive correlation of a gene signature consisting of ga733.2, muc-1, mgb1 and spdef and advanced stages of BC. Moreover, all studied genes and gene patterns revealed a significant correlation with Ca 15-3 positive cases.

Martin Martinez MD, Veys I, Majjaj S, et al.
Clinical validation of a molecular assay for intra-operative detection of metastases in breast sentinel lymph nodes.
Eur J Surg Oncol. 2009; 35(4):387-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In breast cancer patients, the status of the sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) has been shown to accurately reflect the presence of metastases in the axillary lymph nodes (ALNs). Intra-operative SLN evaluation by frozen section histology may miss positive cases, leading to a second surgery for complete ALN dissection. Permanent section histology itself has tissue sampling limitations and is partially dependent on pathologist expertise.
METHODS: A prospective study (N=78) was conducted in our institution to validate a new intra-operative molecular assay, the GeneSearch breast lymph node (BLN) assay. This assay quantifies the expression of mammaglobin and cytokeratin-19 genes using quantitative RT-PCR technology to determine SLN status. Fresh SLN sections (2 mm thick) were analyzed alternatively by BLN assay or post-operative histology (haematoxylin-eosin and immunohistochemistry). The subject was considered positive when histology revealed a focus >0.2 mm.
RESULTS: BLN assay results corroborated with histologic results in 75 out of 78 patients for an overall agreement of 96%, a sensitivity of 92%, and a specificity of 97%. The positive and negative predictive values of the BLN assay were of 86% (12/14) and 98% (63/64), respectively. Interestingly, a statistically significant correlation was observed between the metastases' histologic size and both assay markers' expression levels as represented by cycle time to positivity (rho > or = 0.71, all p<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: The performance of the BLN assay in identifying nodal metastases >0.2 mm was similar to that of permanent section histology, with the added advantages of an objective and rapid output that could be used for intra-operative decision to remove additional ALN.

Révillion F, Lhotellier V, Hornez L, et al.
Real-time reverse-transcription PCR to quantify a panel of 19 genes in breast cancer: relationships with sentinel lymph node invasion.
Int J Biol Markers. 2008 Jan-Mar; 23(1):10-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
At the Centre Oscar Lambret, the anticancer centre of the North of France, sentinel lymph node (SLN) procedures are routinely performed for localized (T0-T1, N0, M0) breast carcinoma without any previous treatment, in order to prevent the deleterious effects of axillary lymph node dissection. The present study was undertaken to assess if the expression in the tumor of a panel of 19 genes would allow to predict histological SLN involvement. We looked at cytokeratin 19 (CK19), mucin-1 (MUC1), mammaglobin (MGB1), cyclin D1 (CCND1), the four members of the HER/ErbB growth factor receptor family (EGFR, HER2-4), insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R), estradiol receptors (ERalpha, ERbeta), progesterone receptor (PR), vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF, VEGF-C), urokinase-like plasminogen activator (uPA), matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 (MMP2, MMP9), ets-related transcription factor ERM, and E-cadherin (CDH1). Their expression was quantified by real-time RT-PCR in 134 breast cancer samples and the relationships with SLN metastases were analyzed. A slight increase (35-40%) in CK19 and HER3 expression was observed in the tumors of patients with SLN metastases compared to those of patients without metastases, even if neither CK19 expression nor HER3 expression allowed to distinguish patients with micrometastases from patients with macrometastases. We conclude that the tumoral expression of biological parameters involved in cell proliferation or playing a critical role in the metastatic process, including tumor invasion and angiogenesis, is not strongly associated with SLN metastases.

Marques AR, Teixeira E, Diamond J, et al.
Detection of human mammaglobin mRNA in serial peripheral blood samples from patients with non-metastatic breast cancer is not predictive of disease recurrence.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009; 114(2):223-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Human mammaglobin (hMAM) mRNA is a sensitive and specific marker of breast cancer cells. We evaluated if hMAM mRNA detection in serial peripheral blood samples from non-metastatic breast cancer patients predicts for disease recurrence.
METHODS: Patients scheduled for adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy were eligible. Serial blood samples were collected up to 5 years, the first before (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy. hMAM gene expression was analysed by RT-PCR. Specificity was evaluated in blood samples from healthy volunteers. A total of 321 patients were included.
RESULTS: The incidence of pre-chemotherapy hMAM-positive samples was similar in patients who latter experienced cancer recurrence (22.4%) and those who remained disease-free (17.9%; P = 0.46). Similarly, the mean number of positive follow-up samples was similar in both groups (0.15 +/- 0.22 and 0.13 +/- 013; P = 0.29). Furthermore, there was no difference in disease-free (P = 0.63) or overall survival (P = 0.57) in patients with and without positive baseline samples or between patients whose follow-up samples were always hMAM negative and those with at least one positive sample. Multivariate survival analysis confirmed that hMAM mRNA detection before or after (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy was not predictive of recurrence.
DISCUSSION: There is no evidence that hMAM mRNA detection at diagnosis or during follow-up predicts for breast cancer recurrence.

Denninghoff V, Allende D, Paesani F, et al.
Sentinel lymph node molecular pathology in breast carcinoma.
Diagn Mol Pathol. 2008; 17(4):214-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The prognosis of breast cancer patients depends on primary tumor resection and axillary lymph nodes examination. The purpose of this study was to analyze by molecular biology techniques the presence of mammaglobin A and B messenger RNA in breast sentinel lymph node (SLN) by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
METHODS: Sentinel lymph nodes from 50 patients with a diagnosis of breast cancer were prospectively studied between June 2004 and August 2006. Lymph nodes were all examined every 2 mm by intraoperative cytology. Hematoxylin-eosin (HE), immunohistochemistry (IHC) with cytokeratin (clone AE1-AE3, DAKO, dilution 1:100), and molecular biology techniques were used in all cases.
RESULTS: Deferred study with routine techniques showed subcapsular metastasis in 3/50 cases. Out of 50 cases, 5 were detected with IHC, and 2 of them were negative for HE. Multiplex RT-PCR allowed the detection of 18/50 positive SLN, which included the 5 above-mentioned cases. The other SLN studied (32/50) showed no metastases with the methods herein implemented.
CONCLUSIONS: The epidemiologic impact of incomplete SLN study has been observed, as the HE technique fails to identify all SLN with micrometastases. In our opinion, SLN should be studied with IHC and molecular biology techniques. The multiplex RT-PCR technique for A and B mammaglobin proves to be specific and sensitive. This study will serve to formulate hypotheses. Further research, including a larger population and a longer-term follow-up period, will be required to confirm these hypotheses. Should our findings be confirmed in the future, molecular biology determinations could modify patients' staging and treatment.

Roncella S, Ferro P, Bacigalupo B, et al.
Assessment of RT-PCR detection of human mammaglobin for the diagnosis of breast cancer derived pleural effusions.
Diagn Mol Pathol. 2008; 17(1):28-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present study investigates the diagnostic significance of human mammaglobin (hMAM) mRNA expression in pleural effusions (PE) from breast cancer (BC) patients. Two hundred and fifty PE samples, including 32 from patients who had diagnosis of BC, 116 from patients with other cancers, and 102 from patients with benign diseases, were subjected to nested reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for hMAM, and the results were compared with conventional cytology. hMAM was found expressed in 76/250 (30.4%) total PE and in 23/28 (sensitivity of 82.1%) of the PE subgroup owing to metastasis from BC. The specificity for hMAM detection method was 75.7%, whereas accuracy, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 76.4%, 30.3%, and 97.1%, respectively. hMAM was also detected in 46/116 (39.6%) PE specimens from other types of cancer and in 7/102 (6.8%) from benign diseases. Comparative analysis of RT-PCR and cytology showed that 14 PE samples from metastatic BC (50%) were positive by both PCR and cytology, 9 (32.1%) were positive only by PCR and 5 (17.9%) were negative by both tests, whereas no cases were found of positive cytology with negative PCR. RT-PCR increased sensitivity of BC effusion detection to 32.1% (McNemar test, P=0.004). We demonstrated that RT-PCR for hMAM test was more sensitive than cytomorphology suggesting that, although hMAM is not BC specific, it may be useful in adjunct to cytology for the routine screening of malignant BC effusions.

Mikhitarian K, Martin RH, Ruppel MB, et al.
Detection of mammaglobin mRNA in peripheral blood is associated with high grade breast cancer: interim results of a prospective cohort study.
BMC Cancer. 2008; 8:55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We sought to examine the detection rate of cancer cells in peripheral blood (PBL) and in bone marrow (BM) using an established 7-gene marker panel and evaluated whether there were any definable associations of any individual gene with traditional predictors of prognosis.
METHODS: Patients with T1-T3 primary breast cancer were enrolled into a prospective, multi-institutional cohort study. In this interim analysis 215 PBL and 177 BM samples were analyzed by multimarker, real-time RT-PCR analysis designed to detect circulating and disseminated breast cancer cells.
RESULTS: At a threshold of three standard deviations from the mean expression level of normal controls, 63% (136/215) of PBL and 11% (19/177) of BM samples were positive for at least one cancer-associated marker. Marker positivity in PBL demonstrated a statistically significant association with grade II-III (vs. grade I; p = 0.0083). Overexpression of the mammaglobin (mam) gene alone had a statistically significant association with high tumor grade (p = 0.0315), and showed a trend towards ER-negative tumors and a high risk category. There was no association between marker positivity in PBL and the pathologic (H&E) and/or molecular (RT-PCR) status of the axillary lymph nodes (ALN).
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that molecular detection of circulating cancer cells in PBL detected by RT-PCR is associated with high tumor grade and specifically that overexpression of the mam gene in PBL may be a poor prognostic indicator. There was no statistically significant association between overexpression of cancer-associated genes in PBL and ALN status, supporting the concept of two potentially separate metastatic pathways.

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