Background: Thymidylate synthase (TS) is an enzyme involved in DNA synthesis, and it is a target for 5-fluorouracil. Previous studies have demonstrated that TS is a potent estrogen-induced gene in breast carcinoma cells, suggesting the importance of TS in estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive breast carcinoma. TS immunolocalization has been reported previously, but the clinicopathological significance of TS in ER-positive breast carcinoma still remains unclear. Patients and methods: We immunolocalized TS in 178 breast carcinoma tissues in total, and examined its significance according to the ER-status. Results: TS status was positive in 58% of ER-positive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) cases, and it was significantly associated with the Ki-67 and progesterone receptor (PR). Moreover, in ER-positive DCIS patients who received aromatase inhibitor (AI) before surgery, TS immunoreactivity was significantly decreased after AI treatment. In ER-positive invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) cases, TS status was significantly associated with PR, and it turned out an independent favorable prognostic factor for recurrence of the patients by multivariate analysis. On the other hand, TS status was positively correlated with pathological T factor in ER-negative IDC cases, and tended to have a worse prognosis for disease-free survival of the patients.
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