In order to investigate whether c-Src is involved in carcinogenesis and progression of breast carcinoma, we examined the expression of activated c-Src in tissue sections from surgically resected human breast specimens. First, we confirmed the specificity of the antibody against activated c-Src (Clone 28) using six cell lines established from human breast carcinomas by western blotting. As expected, activated c-Src was detected as a 60 kDa band in all cell lines tested. Immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated that the activated c-Src was mainly observed in cytoplasms of these cells. Then, we designed an immunohistochemical study with 73 human breast carcinoma tissues. Glandular epithelial and myoepithelial cells in normal mammary glands adjacent to carcinoma nests and infiltrating stromal cells were negative for activated c-Src. In contrast, 37 of the 73 breast carcinoma tested (50.7%) were positive for activated c-Src, and this positive staining was inversely correlated with Ki-67 labeling index (p < 0.0001), TNM stage (p < 0.0001), tumor size (p < 0.0001), and histological grade (p = 0.0002). These results strongly suggest that the activation of c-Src would be related to the progression of breast carcinomas with low aggressiveness.
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