Expression of the antigen detected by the monoclonal antibody Ca 19.9 in human breast tissues


The incidence and significance of the expression of the antigen defined by the monoclonal antibody Ca 19.9 (Sialyl Lea) has been assessed in human breast tissue. Frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded specimens of normal, hyperplastic, pregnant breast and carcinomas were examined using an immunoperoxidase technique. Ductal and acinar epithelium of normal and hyperplastic tissues showed variable reactivity in frozen sections but there was a reduction in staining in comparable samples after fixation and processing, such that in many instances only focal ductal epithelium reacted. A distinctive feature in the pregnant breast was the absence of staining in acini showing differentiated secretory activity, despite a reaction in adjacent non-secretory acini and ducts. The overall incidence of detection of the Ca 19.9 antigen in breast carcinomas was 62%, but in half of these only a small number of cells stained. A significant relationship between expression of Sialyl Lea and poor differentiation of carcinomas was identified, but there was no correlation with local lymph node status. In contrast to the non-malignant tissue fixation and processing had little effect on the reactivity of carcinomas. It is suggested that this difference may be quantitative in nature, with malignant breast showing much greater expression, or be related to organisation of the antigen. The observations concerning carcinomas and pregnant breast indicate that the synthesis of the Ca 19.9 antigen is related to the state of differentiation and functional activity of human breast.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00708254

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@article{Walker1986ExpressionOT, title={Expression of the antigen detected by the monoclonal antibody Ca 19.9 in human breast tissues}, author={Rosemary A. Walker and Sheila J. Day}, journal={Virchows Archiv A}, year={1986}, volume={409}, pages={375-383} }