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This article is part of the supplement: Abstracts of the 16th International Charles Heidelberger Symposium on Cancer Research

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Co-expression of E- and P-cadherin in breast cancer: role as an invasion suppressor or as an invasion promoter?

Ana S Ribeiro1*, Laura C Carreto2, André Albergaria1, Bárbara Sousa1, Sara Ricardo1, Fernanda Milanezi1, Raquel Seruca1, Manuel A Santos2, Fernando Schmitt13 and Joana Paredes1

Author Affiliations

1 IPATIMUP, Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

2 Department of Biology and CESAM, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

3 Medical Faculty of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

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BMC Proceedings 2010, 4(Suppl 2):P47  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-4-S2-P47

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:24 September 2010

© 2010 Ribeiro et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Poster presentation

Cadherins are cell-cell adhesion molecules. During tumor progression, their expression and/or function are frequently altered. E-cadherin down-regulation is often associated with tumor initiation and progression in breast cancer [1], whereas P-cadherin overexpression is associated with a worse patient survival [2] and with invasive breast cancer cells [3].

In this study, we aimed to understand if P-cadherin overexpression could interfere with E-cadherin invasion suppressor role in breast cancer.

Therefore, E- and P-cadherin expression was evaluated in a series of invasive breast carcinomas. P-cadherin overexpressing tumors often do not loose E-cadherin and tumors co-expressing both cadherins showed a more aggressive behavior and were related with the worst patient survival. Further, we performed in vitro studies by silencing both cadherins in BT-20 breast cancer cells. E- and P-cadherin co-expressing breast cancer cells showed increased cell invasion and migration capacities, when compared with the ones expressing only one cadherin. P-cadherin silencing led to increased levels of cell death, demonstrating it as a cancer cell survival signal. Also, microarrays of BT-20 cells, after E- and/or P-cadherin silencing, showed that the role of each cadherin alone is distinct from when these are co-expressed in the same cell, conferring different transcriptional programs.

We can conclude that E- and P-cadherin co-expression has an invasion promoter role in breast cancer cells and is a poor patient prognostic biomarker.


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    Curr Opin Cell Biol 2005, 17:499-508. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  2. Paredes J, Albergaria A, Oliveira JT, Jerónimo C, Milanezi F, Schmitt FC: P-cadherin overexpression is an indicator of clinical outcome in invasive breast carcinomas and is associated with CDH3 promoter hypomethylation.

    Clin Cancer Res 2005, 11:5869-5877. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  3. Paredes J, Stove C, Stove V, Milanezi F, Van Marck V, Derycke L, Mareel M, Bracke M, Schmitt F: P-cadherin is up-regulated by the antiestrogen ICI 182,780 and promotes invasion of human breast cancer cells.

    Cancer Res 2004, 64:8309-8317. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL