BMC cancer

Influence of IFN-gamma and its receptors in human breast cancer.

PMID 17697357


Interferons are a group of proteins that trigger multiple responses including prevention of viral replication, inhibition of cell growth, and modulation of cell differentiation. In different mammary carcinoma cell lines IFNgamma induces growth arrest at mid-G1. At the present there are no in vivo studies in human breast. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression patterns of IFNgamma and its two receptors (IFNgamma-Ralpha and IFNgamma-Rbeta) by Western blot and immunohistochemistry, in order to elucidate its role in the different types of human breast cancer (in situ and infiltrative). Immunohistochemical and semiquantitative study of IFNgamma, its receptors types (IFNgamma-Ralpha and IFNgamma-Rbeta), cell proliferation (proliferating cell nuclear antigen, also named PCNA), and apoptosis (TUNEL method) was carried between the three breast groups (fibrocystic lesions, in situ tumors and infiltrating tumors). In the three groups of patients, IFNgamma and IFNgamma-Ralpha immunoreactions appeared in the cytoplasm while IFNgamma-Rbeta also was found in the nucleus. The optical density to IFNgamma was higher in in situ carcinoma than in benign and infiltrating tumors. When we observed IFNgamma-Ralpha, the optical density was lower in infiltrating carcinoma than in benign and in situ tumors (the higher density). To IFNgamma-Rbeta, the optical density was similar in the three group samples. In tumor samples PCNA and TUNEL index was significantly higher; than in benign diseases. PCNA index increased with the malignance. No significant differences were found between cancer types to TUNEL. IFNgamma could be a potential therapeutic tool in breast cancer. However, tumor cells are able to escape from the control of this cytokine in the early tumor stages; this is probably due to a decreased expression of IFNgamma, or also to an alteration of either its receptors or some transduction elements. We conclude that the decrease in the % positive samples that expressed IFNgamma and IFNgamma-Ralpha together with the nuclear localization of IFNgamma-Rbeta, could be a tumoral cell response, although perhaps insufficient to inhibit the uncontrolled cell proliferation. Perhaps, IFNgamma might be unable to activate p21 to stop the cell cycle, suggesting a possible participation in breast cancer development.