Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has a significant clinical relevance of being associated with a shorter median time to relapse and death and does not respond to endocrine therapy or other available targeted agents. Increased aggressiveness of this tumor, as well as resistance to standard drug therapies, may be associated with the presence of stem cell populations within the tumor. Several stemness markers have been described for the various histological subtypes of breast cancer, such as CD44, CD24, CD133, ALDH1, and ABCG2. The role of these markers in breast cancer is not clear yet and above all there are conflicting opinions about their real prognostic value. To investigate the role of CSCs markers in TNBC cancerogenesis and tumor progression, we selected 160 TNBCs samples on which we detected protein expression of CD44, CD24, CD133, ALDH1, and ABCG2 by immunohistochemistry. Our results highlighted a real prognostic role only for CD44 in TNBCs. All other CSCs markers do not appear to be related to the survival of TNBC patients. In conclusion, despite the fact that the presence of the cancer stem cells in the tumor provides important information on its potential aggressiveness, today their detection by immunohistochemistry is not sufficient to confirm their role in carcinogenesis, because specific markers probably are not yet identified.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)