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CytoJournal 2015,  12:6

Detection of pAkt protein in imprint cytology of invasive breast cancer: Correlation with HER2/neu, hormone receptors, and other clinicopathological variables

1 Department of Cytopathology, Aretaieion University Hospital, Athens, Greece, Europe
2 Department of Cytopathology, 424 General Army Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece, Europe
3 Department of Pathology, Mitera General Hospital and Maternity Clinic, Athens, Greece, Europe
4 Department of Pathology, Medical School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece, Europe

Correspondence Address:
Lazaros Skagias
Department of Cytopathology, 424 General Army Hospital, Thessaloniki
Greece, Europe
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1742-6413.153965

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Purpose: Akt is a serine/threonine protein kinase and has emerged as a crucial regulator of widely divergent cellular processes, including apoptosis, proliferation, differentiation, and metabolism. Activation of Akt/protein kinase B has been positively associated with human epidermal growth-factor receptor 2 (HER2)/neu overexpression in breast carcinoma and a worse outcome among endocrine treated patients. The Akt signaling pathway currently attracts considerable attention as a new target for effective therapeutic strategies. We therefore investigated the relationship between activation of Akt and clinicopathologic variables including hormone receptor and HER2/neu status. Methods: Archival tumor tissues from 100 patients with invasive breast carcinoma were analyzed by immunocytochemistry. This study describes the results of immunocytochemical pAkt expression in breast carcinoma imprints, prepared from cut surfaces of freshly removed tumors . Both nuclear and cytoplasmic expressions were evaluated for pAkt. Results: Nuclear and cytoplasmic positive scores of 72% (72/100) and 42% (42/100), respectively, were found. Coexistence of nuclear and cytoplasmic staining was observed in 32 cases (32/100). Nuclear positive staining correlated with HER2/neu overexpression (P = 0.043) and was significantly associated with positive involvement of axillary lymph nodes (P = 0.013). No correlation was found between cytoplasmic pAkt rate and clinicopathological parameters, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor or HER2/neu expression. Conclusions: pAkt expression can be evaluated in cytological material and may add valuable information to current prognostic models for breast cancer. pAkt overexpression appears to be linked with potentially aggressive tumor phenotype in invasive breast carcinoma.


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