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Endoglin (CD105) is upregulated in endothelial cells of tissues undergoing neovascularisation. A greater number of CD105-positive vessels predicts poor survival in breast cancer. We examine whether CD105 expression predicts response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Fifty-seven women (median age 50 years, range 29-70) received neoadjuvant chemotherapy for operable breast cancer. Immunohistochemical staining using monoclonal antibodies to CD105 and CD34 was performed on pretreatment biopsies and post-treatment surgical specimens. Individual microvessels were counted in 10 random fields at x 200 magnification. Median counts were correlated with clinical and pathological response using the Mann-Whitney U-test. Forty-five out of fifty-seven patients (79%) responded clinically, 22 (39%) responded pathologically. On pretreatment biopsies, clinical responders had significantly lower median CD105-positive vessel counts than nonresponders (median counts 5 and 9.3/high-power field (hpf), median difference=4.0/hpf, 95% CI 0.5-8.0/hpf, P=0.02). For pathological responders and nonresponders, median counts were 4.8 and 5.5/hpf (median difference -0.5/hpf, 95% CI=-2.5-2.0/hpf, P=0.77). CD34 expression (total microvessel density) did not correlate with response. Pretreatment CD105 expression predicts for clinical response to chemotherapy, with a lower initial count being favourable. Patients with high baseline new vessel counts or increased counts after conventional therapy may benefit from additional antiangiogenic therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





1683 - 1688


Adult, Aged, Antigens, CD, Biomarkers, Tumor, Breast Neoplasms, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Endoglin, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Neoadjuvant Therapy, Neovascularization, Pathologic, Prospective Studies, Receptors, Cell Surface