Protein tyrosine kinase 6 (PTK6; breast tumour kinase) is overexpressed in up to 86% of the invasive breast cancers, and its association with the oncoprotein human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) was shown in vitro by co-precipitation. Furthermore, expression of PTK6 in tumours is linked with the expression of HER2. In this study, we used the proximity ligation assay (PLA) technique on formalin-fixed paraffin sections from eighty invasive breast carcinoma tissue specimens to locate PTK6-HER2 protein-protein complexes. Proximity ligation assay signals from protein complexes were assessed quantitatively, and expression levels showed a statistically significant association with tumour size (P=0.015) and course of the cancer disease (P=0.012). Protein tyrosine kinase 6 forms protein complexes with HER2 in primary breast cancer tissues, which can be visualised by use of the PLA technique. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-PTK6 complexes are of prognostic relevance.
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