Pregnancy at early age is associated with a reduction of progesterone-responsive cells and epithelial Wnt signaling in human breast tissue

Muenst, Simone and Mechera, Robert and Däster, Silvio and Piscuoglio, Salvatore and Ng, Charlotte K. Y. and Meier-Abt, Fabienne and Weber, Walter P. and Soysal, Savas D.. (2017) Pregnancy at early age is associated with a reduction of progesterone-responsive cells and epithelial Wnt signaling in human breast tissue. Oncotarget, 8 (14). pp. 22353-22360.

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Pregnancy at early age is the most significant modifiable factor which consistently decreases lifetime breast cancer risk. However, the underlying mechanisms haven't been conclusively identified. Studies in mice suggest a reduction in progesterone-receptor (PR) sensitive epithelial cells as well as a downregulation of the Wnt signaling pathway as being one of the main mechanisms for the protective effect of early pregnancy. The aim of our study was to validate these findings in humans.; We collected benign breast tissue of 125 women who had been stratified according to age at first pregnancy and the occurrence of subsequent breast cancer, and performed immunohistochemistry for PR, Wnt4 and the Wnt-target Versican.; The number of PR positive epithelial cells was significantly lower in the group of women with early pregnancy and no subsequent breast cancer compared to the group of nulliparous women with subsequent invasive breast cancer (p = 0.0135). In women with early pregnancy, expression of Versican and Wnt4 was significantly lower compared to nulliparous women (p = 0.0036 and p = 0.0241 respectively), and Versican expression was also significant lower compared to women with late pregnancy (p < 0.0001).; Our results confirm prior observations in mice and suggest a role of downregulation of epithelial Wnt signaling in the protective effect of early pregnancy in humans. This results in a decreased proliferation of stem/progenitor cells; therefore, the Wnt signaling pathway may represent a potential target for breast cancer prevention in humans.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine
03 Faculty of Medicine > Bereich Querschnittsfächer (Klinik) > Pathologie USB
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Klinische Forschung > Bereich Querschnittsfächer (Klinik) > Pathologie USB
UniBasel Contributors:Piscuoglio, Salvatore
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Impact Journals
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:25 Jan 2019 13:48
Deposited On:25 Jan 2019 13:46

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