World Journal of Surgical Medical and Radiation Oncology Volume No 9

Research Open Access

Expression of Caspase 3 and Inhibition of Apoptosis Lowers Survival in Breast Cancer

Kumkum Jha, Mridula Shukla, Mohan Kumar, Vijay K Shukla and Manoj Pandey
World Journal of Surgical Medical and Radiation Oncology 2017, 6:3



Breast epithelial cell homeostasis requires the balance between cell proliferation and cell death. Apoptosis is induced by two different mechanisms: the extrinsic or receptor- dependent pathway and the intrinsic or mitochondria dependent pathway. One of the key mediators of apoptosis is the thiol protease caspase 3. In this study we report the mRNA and protein expression of caspase 3 in breast cancer and its relationship with clinico-pathological parameters, survival and apoptosis.

Materials and Methods

Caspase 3 expression was measured by immunohistochemistry, western blotting and RT PCR in 90 breast cancer and 29 controls . Apoptosis was detected by in situ labelling of the fragmented DNA (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated UTP nick end-label (TUNEL) staining).


Caspase 3 protein expression was found in 69% of controls and 48.9% of breast cancer cases. The mRNA was expressed in 38.9% of breast cancer and 62.1% of controls. Significantly higher caspase 3 mRNA expression was seen in breast cancer. Caspase 3 expression showed significant association with with tumour stage, metastasis and apoptosis. Higher over all 3 year survival was seen in caspase 3 and apoptosis negative breast cancer however the difference was not significant.


A significantly lowered caspase 3 expression in breast cancer compared to benign tumours was observed. However, there was no significant difference in survival between breast cancer patients expressing caspase and those who did not. Presence of metastasis and oestrogen receptor positivity was found to be independent prognostic factors in multivariate analysis.

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