Sialyl-Tn (STn) antigen represents an aberrant glycosylation product of cell surface mucin in adenocarcinomas. We studied its expression in 40 breast carcinomas (35 of which included in situ carcinomas) by performing immunostaining with B72.3 monoclonal antibody. STn expression was observed in 50% of cases and was equally frequent in in situ and in invasive carcinomas. Positive STn staining significantly correlated with high nuclear grade (P = 0.001), aneuploidy (P <0.001) and high S-phase fraction (P = 0.02). No correlation was observed between STn staining and age, menopausal status, presence of invasive component, or hormone receptor positivity. STn staining may provide an objective marker of dedifferentiation of breast tumors and should be investigated further for its prognostic value in breast cancers and as a biomarker of malignant transformation of breast epithelium.

This content is only available via PDF.