[en] bone sialoprotein ; breast cancer ; microcalcifications
[en] Microcalcifications are often associated with human mammary lesions, particularly with breast carcinomas. To date, the molecular mechanism that leads to the deposition of hydroxyapatite in the mammary tissue has not been elucidated. Bone sialoprotein (BSP) is a glycoprotein the expression of which coincides with the appearance of the first hydroxyapatite crystals during bone development. In this study, we report the observation that BSP, a bone matrix protein, is expressed in human mammary cancer cells. Using an immunoperoxidase technique, we studied the expression of BSP in 79 breast lesions, including 28 benign and 51 malignant specimens. Two polyclonal antibodies, one directed against intact human BSP and the other against a synthetic peptide of BSP (residues 277-294), were used and gave identical results. Normal mammary glands expressed undetectable or barely detectable amounts of BSP, and the majority of the benign lesions examined were generally unstained (0) or weakly stained (1+). Most of the breast carcinoma specimens (around 87%) showed a significant increase (P = 0.0001) in BSP expression. Breast carcinomas with microcalcifications had the highest immunoreactivity (2+ or 3+) to BSP antibodies. This is the first demonstration that BSP expression is significantly increased in breast cancer. Expression of BSP by breast cancer cells could play a major role in the deposition of microcalcifications and in the preferred bone homing of breast cancer cells.
Association contre le Cancer ; European Community program BIOMED 1 ; Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS