Validation of selected genes. (a) to (d) Boxplots of relative gene expression by quantitative real-time PCR in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), ductal carcinoma in situ-associated stroma (DCIS-S) and invasive ductal carcinoma-associated stroma (IDC-S). (a) and (b) Reference groups were the normal components (N, normal breast epithelium; N-S, normal stromal compartment). (c) and (d) Reference groups were grade I (EI, epithelium; SI, stroma). y axis, cycling threshold values relative to the median value for the entire series. Statistically significant differences by Wilcoxon rank sum test: *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.001, ****P < 0.0001.(e) Immunostaining of an estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer. Arrows point to positive staining in stromal fibroblasts.