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Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) seem to play a role in breast
cancer development. We examined the association of IL-6 and TNF-α protein expression levels in normal breast epithelium
with two breast cancer risk factors; mammographic density (MD) and lobular involution. Tissue microarray (TMA) blocks were
constructed from normal breast tissue extracted from mastectomy blocks of 20 breast cancer patients aged 50-65 years. The IL-6
and TNF-α epithelial intensity of staining (none, weak, moderate or high) was visually assessed on immunohistochemically
stained TMA sections. MD was visually assessed (<25%, 25-49% or ≥50%) on digitized mammographic images. The degree of
lobular involution (none, partial or complete) and the dominant lobular type (type 1, 2 or 3) were evaluated on hematoxylin and
eosin stained slides containing normal breast tissue. IL-6 epithelial intensity of staining was positively correlated with MD after
adjustment for age and body mass index (r=0.49;
=0.04). There was a non-significant correlation between TNF-α epithelial
intensity of staining and the dominant lobular type after adjustment for parity (r=0.43;
=0.06). Increased IL-6 expression in
normal breast tissue might be associated with increased MD. Modifying pro-inflammatory cytokines expression in normal breast
tissue might be a promising tool to affect MD and consequently breast cancer risk.
Mirette Hanna has completed her bachelor degree of medicine from Alexandria University Faculty of Medicine, Blood bank and Clinical Pathology
residency from Ministry of health and a Master Degree of Clinical and Chemical Pathology from Ain-Shams University Faculty of Medicine. She is a
Ph.D. candidate in experimental medicine program at Laval University Faculty of Medicine.
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