Author(s): Berx G, Van Roy F
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Abstract E-cadherin is a cell-cell adhesion protein fulfilling a prominent role in epithelial differentiation. Data from model systems suggest that E-cadherin is a potent invasion/tumor suppressor of breast cancer. Consistent with this role in breast cancer progression, partial or complete loss of E-cadherin expression has been found to correlate with poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. The E-cadherin gene (CDH1) is located on human chromosome 16q22.1, a region frequently affected with loss of heterozygosity in sporadic breast cancer. Invasive lobular breast carcinomas, which are typically completely E-cadherin-negative, often show inactivating mutations in combination with loss of heterozygosity of the wild-type CDH1 allele. Mutations were found at early noninvasive stages, thus associating E-cadherin mutations with loss of cell growth control and defining CDH1 as the tumor suppressor for the lobular breast cancer subtype. Ductal breast cancers in general show heterogeneous loss of E-cadherin expression, associated with epigenetic transcriptional downregulation. It is proposed that the microenvironment at the invasive front is transiently downregulating E-cadherin transcription. This can be associated with induction of nonepithelial cadherins.
This article was published in Breast Cancer Res
and referenced in Surgery: Current Research