SJ Storr, RAA Mohammed, CM Woolston, AR Green, T Parr, I Spiteri, C Caldas, GR Ball, IO Ellis, SG Martin
Metastasis of breast cancer is a major contributor to mortality. Histological assessment of vascular invasion (VI) provides important prognostic information and demonstrates that VI occurs predominantly via lymphatics in breast cancer. We sought to examine genes and proteins involved in lymphovascular invasion (LVI) to understand the mechanisms of this key disease process. A gene expression array of 91 breast cancer patients was analysed by an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) approach using LVI to supervise the analysis. 89 transcripts were significantly associated (p<0.001) with the presence of LVI. Calpastatin, a specific calpain inhibitor, had the second lowest selection error and was investigated in breast cancer specimens using real-time PCR (n=56) and immunohistochemistry (n=53). Both calpastatin mRNA and protein levels were significantly associated with the presence of LVI (p=0.014 and p=0.025 respectively). The data supports the hypothesis that calpastatin may play a role in regulating the initial metastatic dissemination of breast cancer.