The Immunoexpressions and Prognostic Significance of Inhibin Alpha and Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotrophins (hCG) in Breast Carcinomas

Department of Pathology, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Cancer Research and Treatment (Impact Factor: 3.32). 08/2005; 37(4):241-6. DOI: 10.4143/crt.2005.37.4.241
Source: PubMed


Pregnancy and hCG treatments are considered essential for inhibiting breast cancer. The effect of hCG is accompanied by the synthesis of inhibin, a transforming growth factor involved in cell differentiation and proliferation. Inhibin is considered a tumor suppressor, but its role in the breast is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and tissue distribution of the expressions of inhibin-alpha and beta-hCG in breast cancer, and their prognostic relevance with other biological parameters.
334 of formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissue blocks were selected, and then immunostained for inhibin-alpha and beta-hCG. The inhibin-alpha expression was compared with those of beta-hCG, ER, PR and HER-2/neu, as well as the tumor characteristics and recurrences.
Inhibin-alpha and beta-hCG were expressed in 87 (26.0%) and 44 cases (13.2%), respectively. Inhibin-alpha was found in 25.1% of infiltrating ductal carcinomas (67/267), 26.7% of intraductal carcinomas (8/30), 33.3% of lobular tumors (3/9), 80.0% of apocrine carcinomas (4/5) and 21.7% of the other types (5/23). Inhibin-alpha was correlated with beta-hCG (p<0.0001), PR (p=0.010) and HER-2/neu (p=0.021). HCG was focally expressed in the cytoplasm of the conventional types, but the apocrine type displayed diffusely intense cytoplasmic staining, which correlated with histological tumor types (p<0.001).
Inhibin was significantly correlated with the expressions of hCG, PR and HER-2/neu. Therefore, it might be a useful marker in the prevention and hormonal treatment of breast cancer, such as hCG and progesterone. HCG was expressed significantly higher in the apocrine type than the conventional types, suggesting it can be a useful adjunct in differentiating other cancer types.

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  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, 01/2010: pages 149-167; , ISBN: 9780123849076
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    ABSTRACT: The role that hCG might play in the oncogenic process in cancer is certainly complex. We know that the expression of hCG and its beta subunit is a widespread phenomenon which has been described in many cancer subtypes. However, hCG's involvement in breast cancer has been antithetical: the detection of ectopically expressed hCG(β) by breast tumors has been employed as a biomarker of malignancy, and hCG has been proposed as a ligand vehicle for toxic drugs, with the aim of targeting the LH/hCG receptor which is reported to be expressed by malignant breast tissue. However, it has also been proposed that hCG is a protective agent against the development of breast cancer, leading some to advocate hCG administration to non-pregnant women as a prophylactic measure against cancer. Nevertheless, suggestions that hCG is involved in the angiogenesis, metastasis and immune escape that are central to cancer progression - are phenomena which clearly apply to breast cancer. Indeed, a tumor vaccine based upon hCG has very recently been shown to protect against mammary tumors in mice. We propose that this apparent paradox is resolved if the free beta subunit of hCG produced by tumors acts as an autocrine anti-apoptotic and angiogenic growth factor, whilst intact heterodimeric hCG, as in pregnancy, is part of developmental signaling that initiates tissue differentiation (including breast ductal tissue development), and hence reduces the population of stem-like cells which are susceptible to oncogenic factors.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 11/2010; 329(1-2):62-70. DOI:10.1016/j.mce.2010.07.014 · 4.41 Impact Factor

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