The provasopressin protein (proAVP) is expressed by invasive breast cancer and non-invasive breast cancer, or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Here we demonstrate the ability of the monoclonal antibody MAG1 directed against the C-terminal end of proAVP to identify proAVP in all cases examined of human invasive cancer and DCIS (35 and 26, respectively). Tissues were chosen to represent a relevant variation in tumor type, grade, patient age, and menopausal status. By comparison, there was 65% positive staining for estrogen receptor, 61% for progesterone receptor, 67% for nuclear p53, and 39% for c-Erb-B2 with the invasive breast cancer sections. Reaction with the normal tissue types examined (67) was restricted to the vasopressinergic magnocellular neurons of the hypothalamus, where provasopressin is normally produced, and the posterior pituitary, where these neurons terminate. The breast epithelial tissue sections on the tissue microarray did not react with MAG1. Previously, we demonstrated that polyclonal antibodies to proAVP detected that protein in all breast cancer samples examined, but there was no reaction with breast tissue containing fibrocystic disease. The results presented here not only expand upon those earlier results, but they also demonstrate the specificity and effectiveness of what may be considered a more clinically-relevant agent. Thus, proAVP appears to be an attractive target for the detection of invasive breast cancer and DCIS, and these results suggest that MAG1 may be a beneficial tool for use in the development of such strategies.
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