Quantitative immunohistochemical determination of cathepsin-D and its relation with other variables

Silvia Veneroni, Maria Grazia Daidone, Giovanni Di Fronzo, Vera Cappelletti, Dino Amadori, Angela Riccobon, Angelo Paradiso, Mario Correale, Rosella Silvestrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The expression of cathepsin D was evaluated by immunohistochemistry on histologic sections from formalinfixed samples in a series of 436 primary breast cancers. The fraction of cathepsin D-positive tumor cells was not related to tumor size or hormone receptor status, and only weakly related to proliferative activity, evaluated as the3H-thymidine labeling index. Conversely, a higher fraction of positive cells was observed in nodepositive than in node-negative tumors (p = 0.05). A matched comparison between immunohistochemical and immunoradiometric results on individual tumors was carried out on 100 cases and showed a significant association but with a correlation coefficient of 0.46. The agreement of results from the two assays was higher in ER- than in ER+ tumors, which sometimes showed an immunostaining limited to macrophages and normal epithelial cells. In situ evaluation has the main advantage of being specifically applicable to detection in tumor cells and allows the simultaneous determination of different biologic aspects for a more complete understanding of breast cancer biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1993


  • Cathepsin D
  • hormone receptors
  • immunohistochemistry
  • proliferative activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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