Variation of bcl-2 expression in breast ducts and lobules in relation to plasma progesterone levels: Overexpression and absence of variation in fibroadenomas

Ferrieres, G.; Cuny, M.; SimonyLafontaine, J.; Jacquemier, J.; Rouleau, C.; Guilleux, F.; Grenier, J.; Rouanet, P.; Pujol, H.; Jeanteur, P.; Escot, C.

Journal of Pathology

1997-10 / vol 183 / pages 204-211


Some women with benign breast disease eventually develop breast cancer, The mammary gland undergoes tissue remodelling according to hormonal influences, involving a balance between quiescence, proliferation, and mechanisms of cell death. Proliferation and/or apoptotic events could therefore be investigated to help understand the mechanisms of benign lesion formation and identify mastopathies with a poor prognosis, bcl-2 expression was analysed by immunohistochemistry in 75 benign mastopathies, Protein levels were quantitated with an image analyser in various epithelial structures on frozen sections, including adenoses, fibroadenomas, ductal epithelial hyperplasias, cysts, and apparently normal surrounding lobules and ducts, bcl-2 levels were equivalent in apparently normal lobules and ducts, as web as In cysts and ductal hyperplasias. bcl-2 staining was significantly higher in fibroadenomas, known to be of lobular origin [mean=10.1, quantitative immunochemistry score (QIC) arbitrary units (AU), n=19], than in normal lobules (mean=5.1 AU, n=43, P=7 x 10(-5)), bcl-2 levels in normal lobules and ducts varied according to the menstrual cycle, being higher during the follicular than the luteal phase (P=1.8 x 10(-2) and P=1.7 x 10(-2), respectively), This was further supported by a statistical link (P=5 x 10(-3)) between high levels of circulating progesterone and weak bcl-2 staining in lobules and dusts, This progesterone-dependent variation was absent in fibroadenomas. No statistical correlation was found between bcl-2 expression acid circulating levels of oestradiol, and follicle-stimulating or luteotrophic hormones, Although these are only preliminary results, they suggest an influence of progesterone on bcl-2 expression which might be lost in fibroadenomas. A hypothesis is proposed concerning the potential involvement of altered regulation of the apoptotic process in the formation of such benign lesions, (C) 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.



apoptosis; cancer; disease; association; bcl-2; carcinoma; adenosis; cyst; estrogen; fibroadenoma; hyperplasia; mastopathies; menstrual-cycle; progesterone; risk; steroid hormones; tumor phenotype; women

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