Expression of the 21,000 Molecular Weight Ras Protein in a Spectrum of Benign and Malignant Human Mammary Tissues

Noriaki Ohuchi, Ann Thor, Patricia Horan Hand, Jeffrey Schlom

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114 Citations (Scopus)


Monoclonal antibodies RAP-5 and Y13-259, directed against the ras gene product [a protein with a molecular weight of 21,000 (p21)] have been used to evaluate ras p21 expression in malignant and benign mammary tissues as well as in the lesions of intermediate stature such as atypical hyperplasia using immunohistochemical assays. Invasive carcinoma demonstrated enhanced expression of ras p21, with generally decreasing expression in carcinoma in situ, atypical hyperplasia, and nonatypical hyperplasia, respectively. Heterogeneous expression of ras p21 was observed among primary as well as metastatic mammary carcinomas. Carcinomas from postmenopausal patients generally demonstrated higher levels of ras p21 than those from premenopausal patients, but no significant difference in ras p21 expression in carcinomas between estrogen-receptor rich and estrogen-receptor poor patients was found. Normal mammary epithelium in terminal duct lobular units from patients with hyperplasia generally demonstrated higher levels of ras p21 expression than did epithelium in large ducts. This demonstration of enhanced ras p21 expression by the epithelium of peripheral lobular portion of the breast is consistent with the previous hypothesis that these areas preferentially undergo malignant transformation. Analyses of the limited number of specimens available from patients with 15-yr follow-up revealed a generally higher level of ras p21 in hyperplasia from patients who subsequently developed carcinoma, as compared to those from patients without carcinoma development. However, no conclusions regarding the potential for malignant transformation could be drawn for any individual patient on the basis of ras p21 expression. Concomitant analyses of ras p21 expression in mammary carcinomas and benign lesions using liquid competition radioimmunoassay and immunohistochemical assay demonstrated the complementary nature of these alternative approaches. These results suggest that enhanced ras p21 expression may be involved in the early stages of mammary carcinogenesis but is probably not involved in the maintenance of the transformed phenotype. copyright.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2511-2519
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1986 May 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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