Localization of PKC? in Cell Membranes as a Predictor for Breast Cancer Response to Treatment Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: Successful treatment of breast cancer is frequently limited by the resistance of tumors to chemotherapy. Recent studies suggested a role for protein kinase C (PKC) in the resistance to chemotherapy. Here we used retrospective analysis of breast cancer biopsies of neoadjuvantly treated patients to investigate the correlation of PKC expression with aggressiveness and resistance to chemotherapy. Patients and Methods: Our cohort (n = 25) included patients with advanced and aggressive breast cancers, who underwent neoadjuvant therapy with the CAF regimen (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, fluorouracil). Core biopsies (pre-chemotherapy) and surgical biopsies of primary tumors and lymph node metastases (post-chemotherapy) were scored for PKCeta (PKCη) and PKCepsilon (PKCe) expression in the cytoplasm, cell membrane, nuclear membrane, and the nucleus. Results: Our results showed increased expression of PKCη (not PKCe) in the cytoplasm and cell membranes of post-chemotherapy biopsies (p = 0.03). PKCη presence in cell membranes, indicating activation, was in correlation with poor survival (p = 0.007). Conclusion: PKChη staining in cell and nuclear membranes is an indicator for poor survival and a predictor for the effectiveness of neoadjuvant treatment. Other avenues of treatment should be considered for these patients. PKCη presents a target for therapy where inhibition of its activity and/or translocation to membranes could interfere with the resistance to chemotherapy.

publication date

  • May 1, 2012