Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factors (COUP-TF) are orphan members of the nuclear receptor superfamily and consist of COUP-TFI and COUP-TFII. COUP-TFI was reported to be overexpressed in human breast cancer and to promote estrogen-independent transcriptional activity of estrogen receptor α. COUP-TFII, however, has not been examined in the breast. Therefore, we carried out immunohistochemical analysis of COUP-TFII in human breast cancer in order to clarify its biological and clinical significance. We immunolocalized COUP-TFII in 119 human breast cancers and correlated the findings with various clinicopathological parameters. Fifty-nine percent of the cases were immunohistochemically positive for COUP-TFII. COUP-TFII positivity was correlated with poor clinical outcome, and a statistically significant correlation was detected between COUP-TFII and the following clinicopathological parameters: clinical stage, lymph node status, histological grade, and estrogen receptor α status. In addition, short interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of COUP-TFII in the breast carcinoma cell line MCF-7 decreased the level of vascular endothelial growth factor-C mRNA expression, which is a known inducer of lymphangiogenesis and lymph node metastasis. These results suggest that COUP-TFII is involved in the development of advanced human breast cancer.
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