Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Cancer and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Immunohistochemical analysis of oxidative stress and DNA repair proteins in normal mammary and breast cancer tissues

Carol D Curtis, Daniel L Thorngren and Ann M Nardulli*

Author Affiliations

Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois, Urbana IL 61801, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2010, 10:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-9

Published: 11 January 2010



During the course of normal cellular metabolism, oxygen is consumed and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced. If not effectively dissipated, ROS can accumulate and damage resident proteins, lipids, and DNA. Enzymes involved in redox regulation and DNA repair dissipate ROS and repair the resulting damage in order to preserve a functional cellular environment. Because increased ROS accumulation and/or unrepaired DNA damage can lead to initiation and progression of cancer and we had identified a number of oxidative stress and DNA repair proteins that influence estrogen responsiveness of MCF-7 breast cancer cells, it seemed possible that these proteins might be differentially expressed in normal mammary tissue, benign hyperplasia (BH), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive breast cancer (IBC).


Immunohistochemistry was used to examine the expression of a number of oxidative stress proteins, DNA repair proteins, and damage markers in 60 human mammary tissues which were classified as BH, DCIS or IBC. The relative mean intensity was determined for each tissue section and ANOVA was used to detect statistical differences in the relative expression of BH, DCIS and IBC compared to normal mammary tissue.


We found that a number of these proteins were overexpressed and that the cellular localization was altered in human breast cancer tissue.


Our studies suggest that oxidative stress and DNA repair proteins not only protect normal cells from the damaging effects of ROS, but may also promote survival of mammary tumor cells.