Loss of expression of FANCD2 protein in sporadic and hereditary breast cancer

Petra Van Der Groep, Michael Hoelzel, Horst Buerger, Hans Joenje, Johan P. De Winter, Paul J. Van Diest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fanconi anemia (FA) is a recessive disorder associated with progressive pancytopenia, multiple developmental defects, and marked predisposition to malignancies. FA is genetically heterogeneous, comprising at least 12 complementation groups (A-M). Activation of one of the FA proteins (FANCD2) by mono-ubiquitination is an essential step in DNA damage response. As FANCD2 interacts with BRCA1, is expressed in proliferating normal breast cells, and FANCD2 knockout mice develop breast tumors, we investigated the expression of FANCD2 in sporadic and hereditary invasive breast cancer patients to evaluate its possible role in breast carcinogenesis. Two tissue microarrays of 129 and 220 sporadic breast cancers and a tissue microarray containing 25 BRCA1 germline mutation-related invasive breast cancers were stained for FANCD2. Expression results were compared with several clinicopathological variables and tested for prognostic value. Eighteen of 96 (19%) sporadic breast cancers and two of 21 (10%) BRCA1-related breast cancers were completely FANCD2-negative, which, however, still showed proliferation. In the remaining cases, the percentage of FANCD2-expressing cells correlated strongly with mitotic index and percentage of cells positive for the proliferation markers Ki-67 and Cyclin A. In immunofluorescence double staining, coexpression of FANCD2 and Ki-67 was apparent. In survival analysis, high FANCD2 expression appeared to be prognostically unfavorable for overall survival (p = 0.03), independent from other major prognosticators (p = 0.026). In conclusion, FANCD2 expression is absent in 10-20% of sporadic and BRCA1-related breast cancers, indicating that somatic inactivating (epi)genetic events in FANCD2 may be important in both sporadic and hereditary breast carcinogenesis. FANCD2 is of independent prognostic value in sporadic breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • BRCA1
  • Breast cancer
  • FANCD2
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Prognosis
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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