EBAG9 has been recently identified as an oestrogen responsive gene in MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells. EBAG9 is identical to RCAS1, a cancer cell surface antigen possibly involved in immune escape. In this study, we examined the expression of EBAG9/RCAS1 in human breast carcinomas using immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). EBAG9 immunoreactivity was also associated with various clinicopathological parameters, including intratumoural infiltration of inflammatory cells, to examine the biological significance of EBAG9 in human breast carcinomas. EBAG9 immunoreactivity was detected in the entire surface and cytoplasm of carcinoma cells in 82 out of 91 invasive ductal carcinomas (90.1%). In non-neoplastic mammary glands, EBAG9 immunoreactivity was weakly present on the luminal surface of epithelial cells. Results from RT-PCR (n = 7) were consistent with those of immunohistochemistry. EBAG9 immunoreactivity was significantly associated with estrogen receptor (ER) α labelling index (P = 0.0081), and inversely associated with the degree of intratumoural infiltration of mononuclear cells (P = 0.0020), or CD3+ T lymphocytes (P = 0.0025). This study suggests that EBAG9 is produced via ER in carcinoma cells and inhibits the intratumoural infiltration of T lymphocytes in the context of a possible endocrine-immune interaction in human breast carcinomas.
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