Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-19-2011


Breast cancer, Immunohistochemistry techniques, Breast tumors, Squamous cell carcinomas, Cloning, Breast tissue, Carcinomas, Invasive ductal carcinoma


Squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) belongs to the serine protease inhibitor (Serpin) family of proteins. Elevated expression of SCCA has been used as a biomarker for aggressive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in cancers of the cervix, lung, head and neck, and liver. However, SCCA expression in breast cancer has not been investigated. Immunohistochemical analysis of SCCA expression was performed on tissue microarrays containing breast tumor tissues (n = 1,360) and normal breast epithelium (n = 124). SCCA expression was scored on a tiered scale (0-3) independently by two evaluators blind to the patient's clinical status. SCCA expression was observed in Grade I (0.3%), Grade II (2.5%), and Grade III (9.4%) breast cancers (p<0.0001). Comparing tissues categorized into the three non-metastatic TNM stages, I-III, SCCA positivity was seen in 2.4% of Stage I cancers, 3.1% of Stage II cancers, and 8.6% of Stage III breast cancers (p = 0.0005). No positive staining was observed in normal/non-neoplastic breast tissue (0 out of 124). SCCA expression also correlated to estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor (ER/PR) double-negative tumors (p = 0.0009). Compared to SCCA-negative patients, SCCA-positive patients had both a worse overall survival and recurrence-free survival (p<0.0001 and p<0.0001, respectively). This study shows that SCCA is associated with both advanced stage and high grade human breast carcinoma, and suggests the necessity to further explore the role of SCCA in breast cancer development and treatment.


Published: PLoS ONE 6(4): e19096. doi:

Funding: This work was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32GM00796247, NIH T32CA009176, NIH CA098092, NIH CA129536, Susan Komen KG081538, and the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.



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