J Korean Cancer Assoc.  1998 Dec;30(6):1119-1130.

The Expression of c-erbB-2 and CD44 Gene in Breast Cancer

  • 1Department of Surgery, Catholic Medical College, Seoul, Korea.


There are some controversial opinions on the prognostic value of metastasis- associated tumor markers in breast cancer. Out of them, the overexpression of c-erbB-2 proto-oncogene or CD44 gene has been debated on their activities in promoting metastatic potential.
To detennine the relationship between expression of these genes, and, clinicopathological parameters and disease outcomes including relapse and survival, 48 archival paraffin-embeded breast-cancer tissues were stained using monoclonal antibody against each gene product by immunohistochemical staining method, and the result was analyzed.
The positive expression rates of c-erbB-2 and CD44 genes were 45.8% and 18.8%, respectively. The expression rates of both genes were 14.6% and 50% of cases showed no expression of either gene. Except the statistically significant positive correlation between CD44 and tumor size (P=0.003), the expression of c-erbB-2 or CD44 expression had no significant relationship with tumor size, stage, lymph node status, and disease recurrence (P>0.05). In the positive expression cases for CD44, disesase-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in months were shorter than the negative ones (53+/- 8 vs. 64+/-5 and 67+/-8 vs. 77+/-5 S.E.). And, the c-erbB-2 positive cases had longer OS than the negative ones (78+/- 6 vs. 71+/- 6). The OS of positive co-expression cases with the c-erbB-2 and CD44 was shorter than that of one-gene expression ones (66+/- 6 vs. 75+/-7). Thus the OS result observed in the expression of c-erbB-2 alone was reversed in the co-expression study. Though these results had no statistically significant level (P> 0.05).
We suggest a question if there is any interaction or dependency between c-erbB-2 and CD44 expression in view of disease process including OS. Finally, further randomised controlled studies are advisable for the reproducible and significant results.


Breast cancer; CD44; c-erbB-2
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