Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) is a member of the CCN family of secreted proteins that are believed to play an important role in the development of neoplasia. In particular, CTGF has been reported to play an important role in mammary tumorigenesis and to have prognostic value in female breast cancer (FBC). The aim of the present study was to investigate clinicopathologic correlations and prognostic value of CTGF in male breast cancer (MBC) and to compare these findings with FBC. For this, we studied CTGF protein expression by immunohistochemistry in 109 MBC cases and 75 FBC cases. In MBC, stromal CTGF expression was seen in the majority of the cases 78% (85/109) with high expression in 31/109 cases (28.4%), but expression in tumor cells was only seen in 9.2% (10/109) of cases. High stromal CTGF expression correlated with high grade and high proliferation index (>15%) assessed by MIB-1 immunohistochemical staining. CTGF expression in tumor epithelial cells did not correlate with any of the clinicopathologic features. In FBC, stromal CTGF expression positively correlated with mitotic count and tumor CTGF expression was associated with triple negative status of the tumor (p = 0.002). Neither stromal nor tumor epithelial cell CTGF expression had prognostic value in MBC and FBC. In conclusion, stromal CTGF expression was seen in a high percentage of MBC and was correlated with high grade and high proliferation index. In view of the important role of the microenvironment in cancer progression, this might suggest that stromal CTGF could be an interesting target for novel therapies and molecular imaging. However, the lack of association with prognosis warrants caution. The potential role of CTGF as a therapeutic target for triple negative FBC deserves to be further studied.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)