Tissue transglutaminase expression in human breast cancer.
Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) is postulated to play a role in apoptosis, cell adhesion, metastasis, and extracellular matrix (ECM) assembly. In this study, the distribution and expression of tissue transglutaminase was investigated in normal human mammary tissue and in intraductal and invasive human breast cancer by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections of normal, intraductal, and invasive human breast carcinoma were examined with an avidin-biotin complex immunoperoxidase method for tTG antigen and by in situ hybridization to determine the cell types expressing tTG mRNA. The expression of tTG in normal and malignant mammary epithelium in culture was evaluated by quantitative immunoblot analysis. Low-level expression of tTG was found in normal tissues with the antigen located in the ECM surrounding the ducts and in the endothelium. In intraductal cancer, there was a marked increased expression of the tTG antigen, and the increased staining was found in the ECM and was also localized in a distinct pattern at the boundary between the in situ tumor cells and the normal tissue. Further immunohistochemical analysis revealed that the cells in this boundary also stained for the endothelial cell markers CD31, CD34, and von Willebrand factor. In invasive tumors, the tTG antigen was no longer localized to the normal tissue/tumor boundary but dispersed around the tumor cells. In situ hybridization studies revealed three distinct compartments of tTG synthesis: (a) tumor cells, (b) endothelial cells, and (c) stromal cells. In addition, normal and malignant epithelial cells in culture expressed variable amounts of tTG, and the expression of tTG in these epithelial cells was at least 17-fold less than endothelial cells. The up-regulation of tTG in intraductal and invasive human breast cancer and its localization to the ECM and neovasculature suggest that tTG may regulate tumor growth and metastasis.
Hettasch, JM; Bandarenko, N; Burchette, JL; Lai, TS; Marks, JR; Haroon, ZA; Peters, K; Dewhirst, MW; Iglehart, JD; Greenberg, CS
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