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Beta 1 integrin predicts survival in breast cancer: a clinicopathological and immunohistochemical study

Petra Barros dos Santos1*, Juliana S Zanetti2, Alfredo Ribeiro-Silva2 and Eduardo IC Beltrão13

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, Laboratory of Immunopathology Keizo Asami, Federal University of Pernambuco, Avenida Professor Moraes Rêgo S/N, 50670-901, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

2 Department of Pathology, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, 14049-900, Brazil

3 Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, 50670-901, Brazil

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Diagnostic Pathology 2012, 7:104  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-7-104

Published: 16 August 2012



The main focus of several studies concerned with cancer progression and metastasis is to analyze the mechanisms that allow cancer cells to interact and quickly adapt with their environment. Integrins, a family of transmembrane glycoproteins, play a major role in invasive and metastatic processes. Integrins are involved in cell adhesion in both cell-extracellular matrix and cell-cell interactions, and particularly, β1 integrin is involved in proliferation and differentiation of cells in the development of epithelial tissues. This work aimed to investigate the putative role of β1 integrin expression on survival and metastasis in patients with breast invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). In addition, we compared the expression of β1 integrin in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).


Through tissue microarray (TMA) slides containing 225 samples of IDC and 67 samples of DCIS, β1 integrin expression was related with several immunohistochemical markers and clinicopathologic features of prognostic significance.


β1 integrin was overexpressed in 32.8% of IDC. In IDC, β1 integrin was related with HER-2 (p = 0.019) and VEGF (p = 0.011) expression and it had a significant relationship with metastasis and death (p = 0.001 and p = 0.05, respectively). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that the overexpression of this protein is very significant (p = 0.002) in specific survival (number of months between diagnosis and death caused by the disease). There were no correlation between IDC and DCIS (p = 0.559) regarding β1 integrin expression.


Considering that the expression of β1 integrin in breast cancer remains controversial, specially its relation with survival of patients, our findings provide further evidence that β1 integrin can be a marker of poor prognosis in breast cancer.

Virtual slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: webcite

β1 integrin; Tissue microarray; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis