Functionally different tenascin (TN) isoforms, containing varying numbers of a 91 amino-acid motif resembling the fibronectin type-III homology repeat, may be generated by alternative splicing of the TN primary transcript. In fact, only the TN isoform containing the alternatively spliced region can induce loss of focal adhesion in cultured cells and seems to be able to facilitate cell migration. We examined the patterns of alternative splicing of the TN primary transcript in normal, hyperplastic and neoplastic breast tissues, and found that, in all the invasive breast carcinomas analyzed, the relative amount of TN mRNA in which the alternatively spliced region was included was about 10 times higher than in RNA from normal breast tissues. A similar result was observed in phyllodes tumors and in those fibroadenomas which showed very high stromal cellularity. Western-blot analysis using different monoclonal antibodies showed the same pattern as that seen in Northern blotting. The data reported here suggest that, in the breast, expression of the high-molecular-mass TN isoform is a marker of stromal element proliferation and that, in invasive breast carcinomas, this TN isoform could play a role in generating a permissive environment for proliferation, invasion and metastasis of neoplastic epithelial cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research