Apoptosis-related factors in nonpalpable breast tumors: an immunohistochemical study. Correlation with the mammographic image
© BioMed Central Ltd 2001
Received: 10 May 2001
Published: 31 May 2001
Retrospective evaluation of the mammographic appearance of nonpalpable breast cancers and correlation with apoptosis-related factors.
Patients with nonpalpable breast lesions (n = 211) were evaluated between 1989 and 1999. All patients underwent preoperative mammographically guided needle-excision biopsy. Specimen radiography was always followed. Histological examination revealed 55 cancers (26%; 30 ductal invasive [54.5%], 18 ductal in situ [32.7%], five lobular invasive [9%] and two lobular in situ [3.8%]). In 41 out of 55 carcinomas, immunohistochemistry was conducted, using monoclonal antibodies against bcl-2, fas and DNA fragmentation, and polyclonal antibody for bax.
Mammography revealed malignant microcalcifications in 42 out of 55 patients (76%) and opacity with undefined borders (greater diameter <1cm) in 13 out of 55 patients (24%). In 16 out of 41 carcinomas (41%) there was immunostain positivity for bcl-2. In seven out of 16 patients (17.5%) mammography showed microcalcifications, whereas opacity was observed in nine out of 16 patients (22.5%). Twenty-three out of 41 carcinomas (56%) were positive for fas. In 14 out of 23 patients (60%) mammography showed microcalcifications and opacity in 11 out of 23 (47%). Thirty out of 41 carcinomas (73%) were positive for bax and DNA fragmentation. In 17 out of 30 (58%) carcinomas that were positive for DNA fragmentation, mammography showed microcalcifica-tions, whereas opacity was revealed in 16 out of 30 (53%) patients. In 18 out of 30 (60%) carcinomas that were positive for bax, mammography showed microcalcifications, whereas opacity was detected in 14 out of 30 (46%) carcinomas.
Our results suggest the existence of significant correlation between mammographic appearance and expression of apoptosis factors in nonpalpable breast cancers, although the number of patients evaluated was relatively small.