Article open access publication

Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A expression in human breast cancer

Growth Hormone & IGF Research, Elsevier, ISSN 1532-2238

Volume 24, 6, 2014

DOI:10.1016/j.ghir.2014.10.007, Dimensions: pub.1012064497, PMC: PMC4308469, PMID: 25468445,



  1. (1) Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
  2. (2) Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Pathology, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
  3. (3) Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Health Sciences Research, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
  4. (4) Aarhus University, grid.7048.b, AU
  5. (5) Mayo Clinic, grid.66875.3a


OBJECTIVE: Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) is a zinc metalloproteinase in the insulin-like growth factor system that is expressed by tissues outside of pregnancy and involved in normal and dysregulated growth. PAPP-A has been implicated in several cancers. However, studies of PAPP-A expression in breast cancer are limited. In this study, we assessed PAPP-A expression in different subtypes of human malignant breast cancer. Design Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples from 46 female patients with invasive breast cancer were divided into five defined groups [using markers for HER2, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, proliferation] that roughly correlate with molecularly defined subtypes (luminal A, luminal B, luminal/HER2 +, HER2 +, triple negative). These samples were analyzed for PAPP-A expression by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: PAPP-A staining in tumor tissue was detected in 45 of 46 specimens. There were significantly greater extent and intensity of PAPP-A expression in luminal B specimens with high proliferation index than luminal A specimens (P = 0.01). However, there were no differences between specimens positive or negative for HER2 (P = 0.14) or positive and negative for estrogen receptor (P = 0.31). CONCLUSION: PAPP-A was detected in almost all breast cancer specimens and a more intense and greater extent of its expression was associated with luminal B specimens compared to luminal A specimens. The role of PAPP-A in breast cancer prognosis, and possibly therapeutics, warrants further investigation.


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Times Cited: 22

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 4.24

Relative Citation ratio (RCR): 0.94

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