Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A expression in human breast cancer

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21 Scopus citations


Objective: Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) is a zinc metalloproteinase in the insulin-like growth factor system that is expressed by tissues outside of pregnancy and involved in normal and dysregulated growth. PAPP-A has been implicated in several cancers. However, studies of PAPP-A expression in breast cancer are limited. In this study, we assessed PAPP-A expression in different subtypes of human malignant breast cancer.Design Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples from 46 female patients with invasive breast cancer were divided into five defined groups [using markers for HER2, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, proliferation] that roughly correlate with molecularly defined subtypes (luminal A, luminal B, luminal/HER2. +, HER2. +, triple negative). These samples were analyzed for PAPP-A expression by immunohistochemistry. Results: PAPP-A staining in tumor tissue was detected in 45 of 46 specimens. There were significantly greater extent and intensity of PAPP-A expression in luminal B specimens with high proliferation index than luminal A specimens (. P=. 0.01). However, there were no differences between specimens positive or negative for HER2 (. P=. 0.14) or positive and negative for estrogen receptor (. P=. 0.31). Conclusion: PAPP-A was detected in almost all breast cancer specimens and a more intense and greater extent of its expression was associated with luminal B specimens compared to luminal A specimens. The role of PAPP-A in breast cancer prognosis, and possibly therapeutics, warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-267
Number of pages4
JournalGrowth Hormone and IGF Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Breast cancer
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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