Distinct Ezrin Truncations Differentiate Metastases in Sentinel Lymph Nodes from Unaffected Lymph Node Tissues, from Primary Breast Tumors, and from Healthy Glandular Breast Tissues

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Lymph node metastasis status is a prognostic factor for further lymph node involvement and for patient survival in breast cancer patients. Frozen section analysis of lymph nodes is a reliable method for detection of macro-metastases. However, this method is far less effective in detecting micro-metastases, requesting improved diagnostic procedures. METHODS: We investigated expression and truncation of ezrin in (i) sentinel lymph node metastases, (ii) unaffected axillary lymph nodes, (iii) primary breast tumors, and (iv) healthy glandular breast tissues using 2D gel electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE, and mass spectrometry in addition to Western blotting. RESULTS: Full-length ezrin (E1; amino acids 1–586) is present in all four investigated tissues. Two truncated ezrin forms, one missing about the first hundred amino acids (E2a) and the other lacking about 150 C-terminal amino acids (E2b) were detectable in primary tumor tissues and in sentinel lymph node metastases but not in glandular tissues. Strikingly, an ezrin truncation (E3) which consists approximately of amino acids 238–586 was found strongly expressed in all sentinel lymph node metastases. Moreover, an N-terminal ezrin fragment (E4) that consists approximately of amino acids 1–273 was identified in sentinel lymph node metastases as well. CONCLUSIONS: We show for the first time the existence of tissue-dependent specific ezrin truncations. The distinguished strong Western blot staining of ezrin E3 in sentinel lymph node metastases underlines its capability to substantiate the occurrence of lymph node (micro)metastases in breast cancer patients.

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Röwer, C., George, C., Reimer, T., Stengel, B., Radtke, A., Gerber, B., & Glocker, M. O. (2018). Distinct Ezrin Truncations Differentiate Metastases in Sentinel Lymph Nodes from Unaffected Lymph Node Tissues, from Primary Breast Tumors, and from Healthy Glandular Breast Tissues. Translational Oncology, 11(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranon.2017.10.004

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