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Expression of glucosylceramide synthase in invasive ductal breast cancer may be correlated with high estrogen receptor status and low HER-2 status

Jiannan Liu12, Ping Sun2, Yuan Sun3, Aina Liu2, Dong You2, Fenge Jiang2 and Yuping Sun1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oncology, Jinan Central Hospital, Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong 250013, P R China

2 Department of Oncology, Yuhuangding Hospital, Yantai, Shandong 264000, P R China

3 Department of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Guangdong 510080, P R China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2014, 9:22  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-9-22

Published: 23 January 2014


Background and objectives

Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide. Studies on glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) activity suggest that this enzyme has a role in the development of multidrug resistance in many cancer cells. However, few studies have shown the expression of GCS in invasive ductal breast cancer and breast intraductal proliferative lesions.


In total, 196 samples from patients with invasive ductal breast cancer and 61 samples of breast intraductal proliferative lesions were collected. Immunohistochemical analyses were conducted to determine the expression of GCS and other related proteins.


Expression of GCS was high in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and HER-2 negative samples. In contrast, the expression of GCS in invasive ductal cancer was significantly lower than that in intraductal proliferative lesions.


Our data demonstrates a correlation between the expression of the GCS protein and ER-positive/HER-2 negative breast cancer. Furthermore, in contrast to previous reports, the expression of GCS protein was shown to be much higher in ductal carcinoma in-situ than that in invasive ductal cancer.

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

Glucosylceramide synthase; Breast cancer; Multidrug resistance; ER; HER-2