Early Detection Research Network

Jun and Fos family protein expression in human breast cancer: correlation of protein expression and clinicopathological parameters.

The activator protein-1 (AP-1) is a dimeric transcription factor formed by members of the Jun and Fos protein family. AP-1 plays a role in a variety of physiological functions including cell proliferation and differentiation, although both c-Jun and c-Fos have also been implicated in oncogenic transformation and tumor progression. To further elucidate the role of AP-1 in breast cancer, we have investigated the expression of the AP-1 proteins c-Jun, JunB, JunD, phosphorylated c-Jun, c-Fos, Fral, Fra2 and the tumor supressor protein p53.

Protein expression was evaluated on a breast cancer tissue microarray with 58 lymph node positive or negative breast cancer specimens, 29 corresponding lymph node metastases, and 11 tissue samples from surrounding tumor-free tissue, each cored as triplicate. Jun and Fos protein family expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and was correlated with clinicopathological parameters.

High expression levels were observed for c-Jun, JunD, c-Fos and Fra2, whereas JunB and Fral exhibited lower staining. c-Jun protein expression was correlated to Fral staining (p = 0.007, Kendall's Tau) and Fral was further associated with c-Fos (p < 0.001), JunD (p = 0.001) and Fra2 (p = 0.011) expression. JunD expression correlated with c-Fos (p < 0.001), JunB (p = 0.035) and c-Jun (p = 0.05). Activated c-Jun correlated with c-Fos expression (p = 0.041). JunB was negatively correlated to tumor stage, (p = 0.093, corr coeff. = -0.293, Spearman's correlation) but was significantly increased in nodal negative tumors (p = 0.004, Mann Whitney test). In addition, increased Fral expression showed a trend towards an increased overall survival (p = 0.077, RR = 0.534, Cox regression).

Our results suggest an important role for JunB and Fral in the biological behavior of malignant breast tumors.

Dampier B, Hudelist G, Kaserer K, Kubista E, Langer S, Pehamberger H, Schreibner M, Singer CF, Vinatzer U, Zielinski C


Eur. J. Gynaecol. Oncol., 2006, 27 (4)