Increased ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity in human breast cancer specimens has recently been shown to be an independent adverse prognostic factor for recurrence and death. Biochemical measurement of ODC, however, is not practical for routine clinical use. Furthermore, it does not take into account the heterogeneous composition of human breast cancers which contain variable proportions of epithelial and stromal elements. Therefore, we developed an immunohistochemical method for ODC determination which can be applied to formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections. We report here our results in a series of 30 human breast cancer samples. ODC expression was detected most consistently in the malignant epithelial component of the tumors. Twenty-seven of 30 samples stained positive with intensities ranging from 1+ to 3+. The fraction of malignant epithelial cells expressing ODC varied among specimens between 10% and > 90%. When quantitated by H-SCORE, ODC expression was significantly higher in the malignant epithelial component than in normal appearing epithelial cells and stroma admixed within the tumor. Normal mammary tissue adjacent to the cancer was available for analysis in six cases. ODC expression was absent in two (while both cancers were positive) but present in four to a degree which was overall comparable to that observed in the corresponding tumors. We believe that this technique will be useful for future studies aimed at expanding our knowledge of the role of ODC and polyamines (PA) in breast cancer biology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research