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Prognostic significance of apoptosis related gene family bcl-2 in human breast cancer

Abstract

Objective: To study the prognostic effect of bcl-2 oncogene and its gene family members bax, bcl-x expression in breast cancer patients. Methods: Expression of bcl-2, bax proteins in 91 human breast cancer tissue sections were studied by immunohistochemical method, bcl-x1 mRNA expression in frozen tissues from 16 breast cancer patients were detected using Northern blot method. Results: bcl-2 protein positivity was found in 60/91 (65.9%) patients, and bax positivity 59/91 (64.8%). bcl-2 and bax expression levels were associated with apoptotic index(AI), histological grade, axillary lymph node metastasis, postoperative local recurrence and metastasis, bcl-2 expression was related to ER positivity. In univariate analysis for disease free survival (DFS), bcl-2 and bax protein levels, and Al were all found to have prognostic value. The result of Cox’s model multivariate analysis showed that bcl-2 protein level was an independent prognostic factor. In 16 frozen breast cancer tissues, 8/16(50%) had higher level of bcl-x1 mRNA, which showed correlation with bcl-2 protein expression and axillary lymph node metastasis. Conclusion: The findings indicate that dysregulated expressions of bcl-2, bax and bcl-x1 apoptosis-related genes, suggestive of serious deregulation of apoptotic process, may contribute to the biologic aggressiveness of breast cancer, bcl-2 protein is an independent indicator of prognosis in breast cancer patients.

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Author information

Correspondence to Zhi-min Shao.

Additional information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 39670803).

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Wu, J., Lu, J., Shao, Z. et al. Prognostic significance of apoptosis related gene family bcl-2 in human breast cancer. Chin J Cancer Res 12, 5–9 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02983185

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Key words

  • Breast cancer
  • Prognosis
  • Apoptosis
  • Oncogene