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The expression of cytosolic glutathione S-transferase (GST) isoenzymes has been assessed in a series of 74 primary human breast carcinomas using an immunohistochemical method. GST pi was detected in sections from all 74 tumours; it was expressed by non-epithelial (stromal and inflammatory) cells in 62 tumours (84 per cent), but by tumour epithelium in only 35 (47 per cent). Non-neoplastic mammary epithelium was uniformly positive for GST pi. Expression of GST alpha and mu was observed in 19 and 42 per cent of the tumours, respectively, and was largely confined to the neoplastic component. Lack of staining of tumour epithelium for GST pi was significantly associated with poorer tumour differentiation (higher grade). There was no association between expression of any of the three isoenzymes and either menopausal status or expression of c-erbB-2 oncogene protein product. Immunohistochemistry is a useful method for the investigation of expression and cellular localization of GSTs within tumours; such data are needed to improve our understanding of the role of these enzymes in neoplasia and in resistance to cytotoxic drug therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Pathol

Publication Date





19 - 25


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Breast, Breast Neoplasms, Epithelium, Female, Glutathione Transferase, Humans, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Isoenzymes, Menopause, Middle Aged, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Receptor, ErbB-2