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Overexpression of CARM1 in breast cancer is correlated with poorly characterized clinicopathologic parameters and molecular subtypes

Hongxia Cheng12, Yejun Qin2, Hui Fan2, Peng Su1, Xiaofang Zhang1, Hui Zhang1 and Gengyin Zhou1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, Shandong University School of Medicine, 44#, Wenhua Xi Road, Jinan, Shandong 250012, People’s Republic of China

2 Department of Pathology, Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, 324#, Jing 5 Rd, Jinan, Shandong 250021, People’s Republic of China

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Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:129  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-129

Published: 2 August 2013

Abstract

Background

Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) belongs to the protein arginine methyltransferase family. CARM1 has been reported to be associated with high grade tumors in breast cancer. It still remains unknown the expression pattern of CARM1 in breast cancer and its relationships with clinicopathological characteristics and molecular subtypes.

Methods

Two hundred forty-seven invasive breast cancer cases were collected and prepared for tissue array. There were thirty-seven tumors with benign glandular epithelium adjacent to the tumors among these cases. Molecular subtype and CARM1 expression were investigated using immunohistochemistry.

Results

Cell staining was observed in the cytoplasm and/or nucleus. Staining for CARM1 was significantly stronger in adenocarcinoma compared with adjacent benign epithelium. There is a significant correlation between CARM1 overexpression with young age, high grade, estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) negative, increased p53 expression, and high Ki-67 index. Our study demonstrated CARM1 overexpression was associated with an increase in the protein expression of HER2. Furthermore, our data indicated CARM1-overexpression rate were remarkably higher in HER2 subtype (69.6%), luminal B subtype (59.6%) and TN subtype (57.1%) compared with luminal A subtype (41.3%).

Conclusions

CARM1 expression was increased in invasive breast cancer. CARM1 overexpression was associated with poorly characterized clinicopathologic parameters and HER2 overexpression. There were significant differences between different molecular subtypes in their relationship to CARM1 overexpression. Our results support the value of using CARM1 in prognostic stratification of breast cancer patients and its potential therapeutic implications in targeting treatment.

Virtual slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/4116338491022965 webcite

Keywords:
CARM1; Breast cancer; Clinicopathologic parameters; HER2; Molecular subtype