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MUC1 expression in primary breast cancer: The effect of tamoxifen treatment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jonathan Hanson, Jagnohan Varma, Professor Adrian Allen, Dr Brian Shenton, Dr James Young, Dr Ian Brotherick, Professor Jeffrey Pearson


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This was a non-randomised single institution retrospective study. Forty-six banked frozen tumour specimens were obtained from a group of patients who had undergone 3 weeks of neoadjuvant treatment with tamoxifen between biopsy and surgery. Fifty-one comparison specimens were randomly selected from a group of concomitantly treated primary breast cancer patients who did not receive neoadjuvant tamoxifen. Specimen selection was not based on prognostic factors: hormone receptor status, patient age, or menopausal status. MUC1 expression and cell cycle distribution were assessed by flow cytometry. S-phase fraction of MUC1 positive and MUC1 negative cells were compared. A lower percentage of cells expressed MUC1 following 3-week tamoxifen treatment 18.2% versus 28.5% (p = 0.03, Mann-Whitney) and lower levels of MUC1 expression were seen following tamoxifen treatment 31,519 molecules/cell versus 39,387 (p = 0.04, Mann-Whitney). MUC1 positive cells, irrespective of treatment group, had a greater proportion of cells in S-phase of the cell cycle 27.9% versus 16.8% (p = 0.0004, Mann-Whitney) and demonstrated more cases of aneuploidy 80.65% versus 42.6% (p < 0.0001). MUC1 levels in primary tumours treated neoadjunctively with 3 weeks of tamoxifen were lower than a comparison group which did not receive tamoxifen. MUC1 should be explored further as an intermediate biomarker for assessment of treatment and prognosis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Varma J; Pearson JP; Shenton BK; Allen A; Hanson JM; Brotherick I; Young JR; Broweil DA; Cunliffe WJ; Hemming D; Higgs MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

Year: 2001

Volume: 67

Issue: 3

Pages: 215-222

ISSN (print): 0167-6806

ISSN (electronic): 1573-7217

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1023/A:1017955726902

PubMed id: 11561767


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