Loss of E-cadherin expression associated with lymph node metastases in small breast carcinomas

N. C.A. Hunt, A. G. Douglas-Jones, B. Jasani, J. M. Morgan, M. Pignatelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)


The National Breast Screening Programme affords the opportunity to study breast carcinomas at an early stage in their development. E-cadherin is a calcium-dependent, intercellular adhesion molecule whose loss of expression may facilitate the processes of invasion and metastasis of some human tumours. From a group of screen-detected ductal carcinomas less than or equal to 10 mm in diameter, 16 with lymph node metstastasis were identified and matched for grade, size and patient age with node negative tumours. The level of expression of E-cadherin (detected by immunocytochemistry) was compared in the matched pairs using a simple semi-quantitative intensity distribution scoring system. The results showed a significant (P = 0.05 Wilcoxon paired rank test) reduction of E-cadherin expression in tumours with lymph node metastases compared to those without. In the context of the small size of these tumours it is proposed that these results support the hypothesis that reduction in E-cadherin expression is an early event in the development of metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-289
Number of pages5
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Breast neoplasia
  • Duct carcinoma of breast
  • E-cadherin
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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