INTRODUCTION: The generation of proper immune response in the tumor environment seems to be essential in antitumor defense. RCAS1 expression has been shown to participate in the regulation of immune cytotoxic activity, metallothionein participates in the protection of cells against immune mediated apoptosis. Since MT and RCAS1 expression is observed within healthy tumor environment we aimed to focus on the proteins expression in tumor and its healthy adjacent tissue in invasive ductal breast cancer regarding the immune cells presence and activity.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: RCAS1, metallothionein, CD3, CD56, CD4, CD25, CD69, CD68 and CD16 antigens expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry in invasive ductal breast cancer. Tissue samples were obtained from 45 patients and were grouped according to the presence of lymph nodes metastases. Two groups were obtained: with and without lymph nodes metastases.
RESULTS: Significant differences were observed in RCAS1 and metallothionein expression in tumor and significant differences in metallothionein expression in healthy stroma regarding the presence of lymph nodes metastases. The significantly higher RCAS1 expression was noticed in tumor in comparison to stroma in patients with the presence of lymph nodes metastases. No such difference was observed in patients without the metastases. Significantly higher metallothionein expression was identified in tumor than in stroma in both groups of patients, with and without lymph nodes metastases. These changes in RCAS1 and metallothionein expression were significantly related with the changes in the number and activity of immune cells.
CONCLUSION: RCAS1 and metallothionein expression in breast cancer healthy stroma seems to be essential for the coexistence of cytotoxic immune cells and normal epithelial cells. The loss of the ability to compensate the growing cytotoxic immune response in the environment might participate in the development of tumor spread.