Differential expression of epithelial–mesenchymal transition and stem cell markers in intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer

Victoria Pomp, Cornelia Leo, Andrea Mauracher, Dimitri Korol, Wenjun Guo, Zsuzsanna Varga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


The transcription factors SLUG and SOX9 have been shown to define mammary stem cell state. Similarly, epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers (E-Cadherin, mTOR) have been shown to play a role in tumor-progression and metastatic potential in breast cancer. Finally, SOX10 is known to be expressed in breast cancer as well. The overexpressions of EMT and stem cell markers have been shown to correlate with poor overall survival. In this study, we examined whether the expression of these markers correlates with intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer and whether there is a prognostic difference in their expression-profile. We analyzed 617 breast cancer samples from two tissue micro arrays. Breast cancer samples were categorized into three groups according to hormone receptor expression and HER2-status as Luminal A/B, HER2-positive, and triple negative subgroup. Immunohistochemical expressions of SLUG, SOX9, SOX10, E-Cadherin, and mTOR were semi-quantitatively analyzed using a two-tiered and three-tiered scoring system in which cytoplasmic and nuclear stains were considered. Strong nuclear expression of SLUG was observed preferentially in triple negative but not in Luminal A/B or HER2-positive cases (24 vs. 3 and 0 %, p 

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 14 2015



  • Breast cancer
  • Epithelial–mesenchymal transition
  • Intrinsic subtypes
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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