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IHC is an increasingly common method used in the diagnosis of breast cancer and research into breast cancer pathology. There is an increasing number of antibodies available for the detection of breast cancer-specific markers. These markers are used to determine different breast cancer types, e.g. in situ or invasive carcinoma, distinguishing normal breast cell types e.g. luminal, basal and myoepithelial, and also proliferation and disease progression (Zaha et al., 2014).
Here we look at some of the most common primary IHC markers for breast cancer along with some cell type-specific markers and recommended antibodies for each biomarker in IHC.
Determining the distribution of estrogen receptor alpha (ER-α) in breast cancer samples is an important initial step for the diagnosis and treatment evaluation of the disease (Hicks et al., 2017). Approximately 70% of breast cancer samples will give a positive staining signal for ER-α making it a crucial biomarker for breast cancer diagnosis (Jeselsohn et al., 2015). ER-α is a nuclear protein with a ligand-dependent transcription factor function. It is also most commonly detected in both luminal A and B subtypes of breast cancer (Jeselsohn et al., 2015).
Immunohistochemistry (Formalin/PFA-fixed paraffin-embedded sections) analysis of human breast ductal infiltrating carcinoma tissue labeling Estrogen Receptor alpha with unpurified ab108398.
Recommended antibody: Recombinant Anti-Estrogen Receptor alpha antibody [EPR4097] - ChIP Grade (ab108398)
The progesterone receptor (PR) is another biomarker important for the initial diagnosis and evaluation of breast cancer (Hicks et al., 2017). PR is known to be induced by ER-α and plays a key role in ER-α protein regulation. PGR as a biomarker is therefore commonly used as an indicator of ER-α function (Mohammed et al., 2015). PR is highly expressed in luminal A-type breast cancer tissue and is associated with a good prognosis (Lim et al., 2016).
Recommended antibody: Recombinant Anti-Progesterone Receptor antibody [YR85] (ab32085)
Calponins are proteins found within the contractile components of the myoepithelium. Similarly to SMMHC and ACTA2, calponin stains are used as a marker of the myoepithelial layer in the diagnosis of invasive breast cancers (Zaha et al., 2014).
IHC stain: cytoplasm
Recommended IHC antibody: Recombinant Anti-Calponin 1 antibody [EP798Y] (ab46794), Anti-Calponin 2 antibody (ab129331), Anti-Calponin 3 antibody (ab151427)
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