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International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2012, Article ID 740353, 9 pages
Research Article

PKC and ER Are Associated with Triple-Negative Breast Cancers in African American and Caucasian Patients

1Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 833 S. Wood Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
2Design and Analysis Core, Center for Clinical and Translational Science, University of Illinois, 914 S. Wood Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
3Department of Pathology, Rush University Medical Center, 1643 W. Congress Parkway, Murdock Building, Street 593, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

Received 22 July 2011; Accepted 18 December 2011

Academic Editor: Thelma Hurd

Copyright © 2012 Debra A. Tonetti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although the incidence of breast cancer in the United States is higher in Caucasian women compared with African American women, African-American patients have more aggressive disease as characterized by a higher percentage of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs), high-grade tumors, and a higher mortality rate. PKCα is a biomarker associated with endocrine resistance and poor prognosis and ERβ is emerging as a protective biomarker. Immunohistochemical analysis of ERβ and PKCα expression was performed on 198 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded primary infiltrating ductal carcinomas from 105 African-American and 93 Caucasian patients. PKCα is positively correlated with TNBC in patients of both races and with high tumor grade in African-American patients. Patients with TNBC express less nuclear ERβ compared with all other subtypes. We find no difference in frequency or intensity of PKCα or ERβ expression between African-American and Caucasian patients. PKCα and ERβ are discussed as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of patients with TNBC.