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The Majority of Gastric Cancer Metastases from Breast Cancer Lack E-cadherin Expression

Issue: Vol.2, No.2 - January 2003

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Article Type: Manuscript

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  1. Dr Babs Taal
    Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoekhuis,
  2. Hans Peterse
  3. Henk Boot

Gastrointestinal metastases from breast cancer are uncommon, and usually associated with the infrequent lobular type of breast cancer: E-cadherin is important in maintaining the tissue architecture; loss of e-cadherin is generally considered am unfavourable sign, but findings are conflicting. To evaluate the prognostic role of e-cadherin we studied 32 patients with gastric metastases: 22 lobular, 7 ductal and 3 undifferentiated carcinoma. Gastric metastases developed late in the course of the disease (median interval from the primary 58 months). The skeleton was the first manifestation of metastatic disease in 47%. The oestrogen receptor was positive in 34% and the progesteron in 28%. In 25 patients (78%) e-cadherin was absent. This finding was not correlated with hormone receptor status or the subtype of breast cancer. Response to systemic therapy was 9/20 (45%); median survival from the detection of gastric metastases 10 months with a 2 year survival of 27%. Contrary to expectations, loss of e-cadherin seemed to be a rather favourable, but not statistically significant factor.

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