Objective: To study cytosolic cathepsin D behavior and possible relationship with other clinical and biological parameters in women affected by breast invasive ductal carcinomas and older than 70 years (range: 71–88).
Material and methods: cytosolic levels of cathepsin D were determined by an Immunoradiometric Assay (IRMA-CIS France). Clinical and biological factors analyzed were: size, axillary lymph node involvement, distant metastasis, histological grade, ploidy, S phase cell, cytosolic estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and pS2, and concentrations of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in cell membranes.
Results: Cathepsin D concentrations ranged between 13 and 1228 pmol/mg prot.. Median value of 41 was considered as threshold of positivity. Cathepsin D positive tumors showed higher S-phase values (P = 0.046) and were most often histological grade III (P = 0.047). However, the most important finding was the existence of a positive correlation (r = 0.51786) and statistically significant (P < 0.05) between S-phase values and cathepsin D in the overall group of tumors, and those ER+, but not in ER-. We determined cathepsin D concentrations in 131 women with invasive ductal breast carcinomas, but aged between 50 and 70 years (median 61) and we did not find differences based on those values in women >70 years. In addition, we found no correlation between S-phase values and Cathepsin D, both overall and in relation with hormone dependence (ER).
Conclusions: Those results led us to the following conclusions: (1) cytosolic concentrations of cathepsin D in invasive infiltrating breast carcinomas in women over 70 are similar to those seen in women with the same type of tumor, but aged 50 to 70 years and are associated with increased cell proliferation measured by S phase, and histological grade III; (2) in women older than 70 years, cathepsin D concentrations are statistically significantly correlated with phase synthesis values in hormone-dependent tumors, but not in hormone-independent, fact not observed in infiltrating ductal breast carcinomas of women aged between 50 and 70. This could reflect a different mitogenic role of the aspartyl protease enzyme linked to hormone dependence as age function parameter.
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