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Cancers 2013, 5(4), 1485-1503; doi:10.3390/cancers5041485

Heterogeneity of Mesenchymal Markers Expression—Molecular Profiles of Cancer Cells Disseminated by Lymphatic and Hematogenous Routes in Breast Cancer

1
Department of Medical Biotechnology, Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk 80-211, Poland
2
Postgraduate School of Molecular Medicine, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw 02-091, Poland
3
Bank of Frozen Tissues and Genetic Specimens, Department of Medical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk 80-211, Poland
4
Department of Surgical Oncology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk 80-214, Poland
5
Department of Pathomorphology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk 80-214, Poland
6
Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk 80-211, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 August 2013 / Revised: 7 October 2013 / Accepted: 1 November 2013 / Published: 8 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circulating Tumor Cells in Cancers)
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Abstract

Breast cancers can metastasize via hematogenous and lymphatic routes, however in some patients only one type of metastases are detected, suggesting a certain proclivity in metastatic patterns. Since epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays an important role in cancer dissemination it would be worthwhile to find if a specific profile of EMT gene expression exists that is related to either lymphatic or hematogenous dissemination. Our study aimed at evaluating gene expression profile of EMT-related markers in primary tumors (PT) and correlated them with the pattern of metastatic spread. From 99 early breast cancer patients peripheral blood samples (N = 99), matched PT (N = 47) and lymph node metastases (LNM; N = 22) were collected. Expression of TWIST1, SNAI1, SNAI2 and VIM was analyzed in those samples. Additionally expression of CK19, MGB1 and HER2 was measured in CTCs-enriched blood fractions (CTCs-EBF). Results were correlated with each other and with clinico-pathological data of the patients. Results show that the mesenchymal phenotype of CTCs-EBF correlated with poor clinico-pathological characteristics of the patients. Additionally, PT shared more similarities with LNM than with CTCs-EBF. Nevertheless, LNM showed increased expression of EMT-related markers than PT; and EMT itself in PT did not seem to be necessary for lymphatic dissemination.
Keywords: breast cancer; lymph node metastasis; circulating tumor cells; metastasis; cancer dissemination; epithelial-mesenchymal transition breast cancer; lymph node metastasis; circulating tumor cells; metastasis; cancer dissemination; epithelial-mesenchymal transition
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Markiewicz, A.; Książkiewicz, M.; Seroczyńska, B.; Skokowski, J.; Szade, J.; Wełnicka-Jaśkiewicz, M.; Zaczek, A.J. Heterogeneity of Mesenchymal Markers Expression—Molecular Profiles of Cancer Cells Disseminated by Lymphatic and Hematogenous Routes in Breast Cancer. Cancers 2013, 5, 1485-1503.

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