Spatial distribution of mast cells and macrophages around tumor glands in human breast ductal carcinoma

Roberto Tamma, Diego Guidolin, Tiziana Annese, Cinzia Tortorella, Simona Ruggieri, Serena Rega, Francesco A. Zito, Beatrice Nico, Domenico Ribatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macrophages and mast cells are usually present in the tumor microenvironment and play an important role as regulators of inflammation, immunological response and angiogenesis in the tumor microenvironment. In this study, we have evaluated macrophage, mast cell, and microvessel density in a selected group of different grade of invasive breast carcinoma tumor specimens. Furthermore, we have investigated the pattern of distribution of CD68-positive macrophages and tryptase-positive mast cells around tumor glands. Results have shown that: A) Macrophages are more numerous in G2 and G3 breast cancer stages respect to controls, the per cent of macrophages in G1 samples was comparable to the controls, and the spatial relationship between macrophages and glands (as indicated by the mean cell-to-gland distance) correlated with CD31-positive vessels. B) Mast cells in G2 and G3 tumor specimens show a significant increase in their number as compared to control samples, and their spatial distribution around the glands did not show any significant difference among groups. Overall, the results of this study confirm the important role of macrophages and mast cells in tumor progression and angiogenesis in human ductal breast cancer, and pointed out the spatial relationship between tumor macrophages and glands, and its correlation with microvascular density.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Angiogenesis
  • Breast cancer
  • Macrophages
  • Mast cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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