c-Jun activation is associated with proliferation and angiogenesis in invasive breast cancer

Marije M. Vleugel, Astrid E. Greijer, Reinhard Bos, Elsken van der Wall, Paul J. van Diest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


c-Jun is a component of the transcription factor activator protein 1 (AP-1), which binds and activates transcription at TRE/AP-1 elements. Extra- or intracellular signals, including growth factors, transforming oncoproteins, and UV irradiation, stimulate phosphorylation of c-Jun at serine 63/73 and activate c-Jun-dependent transcription. Therefore, activated c-Jun potentially plays an important role in carcinogenesis and cancer progression. To evaluate expression patterns of activated c-Jun in breast cancer in relation to angiogenesis and proliferation, we performed immunohistochemistry on 103 cases of invasive breast cancer with an antibody recognizing phosphorylated c-Jun at serine 73. Activated c-Jun showed a predominantly nuclear expression at the invasive front in 38% of invasive breast cancer cases. Furthermore, expression of activated c-Jun was seen in mitotic cells of the invasive front in 50% of cases. Occasionally, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and benign breast cells showed nuclear expression. Activated nuclear c-Jun expression showed positive correlations with expression of hyperphosphorylated pRb, vascular endothelial growth factor, and with microvessel density. Mitotic c-Jun expression was associated with pRb and microvessel density. Stromal c-Jun expression showed positive relations with microvessel density. In survival analysis, no significant relation was found with activated c-Jun expression and survival, although a trend with poor survival was found for mitotic cells overexpressing activated c-Jun (P = .09). Our results show that activated c-Jun is predominantly expressed at the invasive front in breast cancer and is associated with proliferation and angiogenesis. Earlier studies have established a functional, in vitro link between activated c-Jun and tumor angiogenesis. Our present results in breast cancer patients confirm this relation in vivo for the first time. Therefore, c-Jun/AP-1 targeting may provide new ways to block tumor angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-674
Number of pages7
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • AP-1
  • Angiogenesis
  • Breast cancer
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Proliferation
  • c-Jun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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