Vasopressin gene related products are markers of human breast cancer

William G. North, Sara Pai, Andrew Friedmann, Xiaoming Yu, Michael Fay, Vincent Memoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Immunohistochemical analysis for products of vasopressin and oxytocin gene expression was performed on acetone-fixed tissues from 19 breast cancers representing a variety of tumor sub-types. Studies employed the avidin-biotin complex (ABC) immunohistochemical procedure and utilized rabbit polyclonal antibodies to arginine vasopressin (VP), provasopressin (ProVP), vasopressin-associated human glycopeptide (VAG), oxytocin (OT), oxytocin-associated human neurophysin (OT-HNP), and a mouse monoclonal antibody to vasopressin-associated human neurophysin (VP-HNP). Western Blot analysis was performed on protein extracts of fresh-frozen tissues from 12 additional breast tumors. While VP gene related proteins were not detected in normal breast tissue, immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of VP, Pro VP, and VAG in all neoplastic cells for all of the tumor tissues examined. Vasopressin-associated human neurophysin was evident in only one of 19 acetone-fixed tumor preparations. However, Western blot analysis for all 12 fresh-frozen tumor samples showed the presence of two proteins, 42,000 and 20,000 daltons, that were immunoreactive with antibodies to VP, VP-HNP, and VAG. Oxytocin and OT-HNP, by immunohistochemistry, were found to be common to cells of normal breast tissues. For tumors, positive staining for OT was observed in 8 of 18 tumors, while OT-HNP was not detected in any of the tumors examined. These findings indicate that VP gene expression is a selective feature of all breast cancers, and that products of this expression might therefore be useful as markers for early detection of this disease and as possible targets for immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • breast carcinoma
  • immunohistochemical analysis
  • oxytocin gene expression
  • tumor markers
  • vasopressin gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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