Cancer stem cell markers ALDH1 and CD44+/CD24- phenotype and their prognosis impact in invasive ductal carcinoma

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Iris Rabinovich *
Ana Paula Martins Sebastião
Rubens Silveira Lima
Cícero de Andrade Urban
Eduardo Schunemann Junior
Karina Furlan Anselmi
Selene Elifio-Esposito
Lucia de Noronha
Andréa Novais Moreno-Amaral
(*) Corresponding Author:
Iris Rabinovich |


Breast cancer is a very heterogeneous disease. The intrinsic molecular subtypes can explain the intertumoral heterogeneity and the cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis can explain the intratumoral heterogeneity of this kind of tumor. CD44+/CD24- phenotype and ALDH1 expression are the major CSC markers described in invasive breast cancer. In the present study, 144 samples of invasive breast carcinoma, no special type were distributed in 15 tissue microarrays (TMA) and then evaluated for expression of the CD44+/CD24- phenotype and ALDH1 to understand the importance of these CSC markers and the clinical aspects of breast cancer. The samples were classified into four molecular subtypes according to clinicopathological criteria: Luminal A, Luminal B, HER2, and Basal-like. A statistical association was found between the molecular subtypes and the CSC markers, with HER2 the most frequent subtype for both markers. ALDH1 was also associated with other poor prognostic variables, such as a high histological grade and larger tumors, but it was not associated with the patients’ prognosis in this sample and nor was the CD44+/CD24- phenotype in a multivariate analysis. There are still many controversies about the role of these markers in breast cancer molecular subtypes. The identification of these populations of cells, through immunohistochemical markers, can help to better understand the CSC theory in clinical practice and, in the near future, contribute to developing new target therapies.


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