Prognostic relevance of tumour cell-associated uPAR expression in invasive ductal breast carcinoma

Matthias Kotzsch, Katharina Bernt, Katrin Friedrich, Elvira Luther, Sybille Albrecht, Axel Gatzweiler, Viktor Magdolen, Gustavo Baretton, Christian Zietz, Thomas Luther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Aims: The urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is a key molecule for pericellular proteolysis in tumour cell invasion and metastasis. The aim was to evaluate the prognostic impact of uPAR in invasive breast cancer dependent on which cell types within the tumour express uPAR. Methods and results: uPAR expression was analysed by immunohistochemistry in 270 tumour tissue specimens of invasive ductal breast carcinomas using tissue microarrays. For evaluation of uPAR immunoexpression we used the epitope-mapped, uPAR domain II-specific monoclonal antibody IID7. High uPAR score values in both tumour cells (uPAR-Tc) and stromal cells were significantly related to high tumour grade (G3), and inversely correlated with oestrogen receptor status. On multivariate analysis, high uPAR-Tc values contributed independent prognostic information for disease-free survival (hazard ratio 1.93, P = 0.007) when adjusted for prognostically relevant clinicopathological parameters, whereas uPAR expression in stromal cells was not related to prognosis. In addition, elevated uPAR-Tc values were found to be prognostic indicators in clinically relevant subgroups of patients with invasive breast cancer. Conclusions: In invasive breast cancer uPAR expression in invasive carcinoma cells, but not in stromal cells, has a significant impact on patients' prognosis, and contributes to a more aggressive tumour phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • breast cancer
  • immunohistochemistry
  • prognosis
  • tissue microarray
  • uPAR


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