An immunohistochemically positive E-cadherin status is not always predictive for a good prognosis in human breast cancer

P. Querzoli, D. Coradini, M. Pedriali, P. Boracchi, F. Ambrogi, E. Raimondi, R. La Sorda, R. Lattanzio, R. Rinaldi, M. Lunardi, C. Frasson, F. Modesti, S. Ferretti, M. Piantelli, S. Iacobelli, E. Biganzoli, I. Nenci, S. Alberti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In primary breast cancers dichotomic classification of E-cadherin expression, according to an arbitrary cutoff, may be inadequate and lead to loss of prognostic significance or contrasting prognostic indications. We aimed to assess the prognostic value of high and low E-cadherin levels in a consecutive case series (204 cases) of unilateral node-negative non-lobular breast cancer patients with a 8-year median follow-up and that did not receive any adjuvant therapy after surgery. Methods: Expression of E-cadherin was investigated by immunohistochemistry and assessed according to conventional score (0, 1, 2, 3). Multiple correspondence analysis was used to visualise associations of both categorical and continuous variables. The impact of E-cadherin expression on patients outcome was evaluated in terms of event-free survival curves by the Kaplan-Meier method and proportional hazard Cox model. Results: Respect to intermediate E-cadherin expression values (2), high (3) or low (0 to 1) E-cadherin expression levels had a negative prognostic impact. In fact, both patients with a low-to-nil (score 0 to 1) expression level of E-cadherin and patients with a high E-cadherin expression level (score 3) demonstrated an increased risk of failure (respectively, hazard ratio (HR)1.71, confidence interval (CI)0.72-4.06 and HR4.22, CI1.406-12.66) and an interesting association with young age. Conclusions: The findings support the evidence that high expression values of E-cadherin are not predictive for a good prognosis and may help to explain conflicting evidence on the prognostic impact of E-cadherin in breast cancer when assessed on dichotomic basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1835-1839
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 7 2010


  • breast cancer
  • E-cadherin
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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