Immunohistochemical cathepsin-D expression in breast cancer: correlation with established pathological parameters and survival

Document Type



Community Health Sciences; Pathology and Microbiology; Surgery


Breast cancer is an increasingly important cause of illness and death among women. In recent years, several novel prognostic determinants of breast cancer have been identified, including Cathepsin-D (CD) protein. CD protein expression was analyzed immunohistochemically (IHC) in tumor specimens (315 patients) of infiltrating ductal breast carcinoma. These patients also had axillary lymph node sampling. Overexpression of CD was observed in 39% of the tumors. IHC results were compared with the histological grade. Seventy nine percent (n = 95; 79%) tumor positivity was seen in grade II tumors, followed by grade I (n = 13; 11%) and grade III tumors (n = 12; 10%). Axillary lymph node metastasis had no significant correlation with CD positivity (p > 0.05). Bone metastases were significantly correlated with CD positivity (p < 0.05). CD positivity showed no significant correlation with disease-free and overall survival (p > 0.05). At a median follow-up of 48 (4 years) months in CD-positive patients, overall survival was 3.17 years, and disease-free survival 2.67 years. The overall survival of CD-negative tumor patients was 3.50 years, and disease-free survival was 2.93 years. We conclude that in comparison with cytosol-based quantitative studies, CD expression is not a good prognostic marker when, as in all ICH studies, only the expression in the tumor is considered.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Pathology - Research and Practice