Background: Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) is a marker of breast cancer stem cells, and the expression of ALDH1 may be a prognostic factor of poor clinical outcome. The epithelial–mesenchymal transition may produce cells with stem-cell-like properties promoted by transcription factors. We investigated the expression of ALDH1 and transcription factors in both primary and metastatic lesions, and prognostic value of them in breast cancer patients with axillary lymph node metastasis (ALNM). Method: Forty-seven breast cancer patients with ALNM who underwent surgery at Okayama University Hospital from 2002 to 2008 were enrolled. We retrospectively evaluated the levels of ALDH1 and transcription factors, such as Snail, Slug and Twist, in both primary and metastatic lesions by immunohistochemistry. Results: In primary lesions, the positive rate of ALDH1, Snail, Slug and Twist was 19, 49, 40 and 26 %, respectively. In lymph nodes, that of ALDH1, Snail, Slug and Twist was 21, 32, 13 and 23 %, respectively. The expression of ALDH1 or transcription factors alone was not significantly associated with a poor prognosis. However, co-expression of ALDH1 and Slug in primary lesions was associated with a shorter DFS (P = 0.009). Conclusions: The evaluation of the co-expression of ALDH1 and transcription factors in primary lesions may be useful in prognosis of node-positive breast cancers.
- Breast cancer
- Transcription factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Pharmacology (medical)