Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1998; 22(6):499-505.

Immunohistochemical Expression of ABH/Lewis-Related Antigens in Primary Breast Carcinomas and Metastatic Lymph Node Lesions

Tohru Nakagoe, M.D.,a Kiyoyasu Fukushima, M.D.,b Takashi Tuji, M.D., a Terumitu Sawai, M.D., a Atushi Nanashima, M.D., a Hiroyuki Yamaguchi, M.D., a Tohru Yasutake, M.D., a Shinsuke Hara, M.D., a Hiroyoshi Ayabe, M.D., a Tatuki Matuo, M.D., c and Shimeru Kamihira, M.D. d

a First Department of Surgery and b Second Department of Internal Medicine, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Nagasaki, Japan; and c Division of Blood Transfusion and d Division of Laboratory Medicine, Nagasaki University Hospital, Nagasaki, Japan

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Tobru Nakagoe, M.D., First Department of Surgery, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, 1-7-I Sakamoto, Nagasaki, Japan.

ABSTRACT: The expression of blood group antigens A, B, and H, as well as sialylated and nonsialylated forms of Lewisa and Lewisx, was studied using immunohistochemical methods in normal and tumor tissues in the following cohort of patients: 51 patients with primary breast carcinoma, 13 with metastatic lymph node lesions, and 16 with benign tumors of the breast. As a control, normal tissue was obtained from a similar group of 22 patients with breast cancer. The noncancerous tissues expressed the same A/B/H antigens as the patients' red blood cells and also usually expressed Lewis-related antigens. Seventy-six percent of primary carcinomas failed to express the appropriate A/B/H antigens, and in one blood group A patient the tumor tissue expressed B antigen. In the metastatic lesions, Lewis a/sialyl Lewis a expression was reduced when compared with the primary tumors, but Lewisx /sialyl Lewisa antigens were still expressed. These results suggest a possible relationship between the metastatic behavior of the tumor and expression of the blood group antigens.

KEY WORDS: breast carcinoma, carbohydrate antigen, metastatic behavior.