Expression of cyclins A, B1 and D1 in human breast cancer was analyzed using dual-parameter flow cytometry with simultaneous evaluation of the DNA content. The asynchronous MCF-7 breast adenocarcinoma cells were used to implement flow cytometry analysis and to analyze the cell cycle distribution of cyclins. The patterns of the cyclin expression were also analyzed in vivo in fresh tissue specimens of human breast carcinomas. The combined measurement of DNA and cyclins showed a higher cyclin expression in aneuploid (11.5 +/- 2.0%, 4.3 +/- 1.1%, and 19.5 +/- 3.4% positive cells for cyclins A, B, and D1, respectively) than in diploid carcinomas (3.9 +/- 1.2%, 1.1 +/- 0.4%, and 5.0 +/- 1.2% positive cells for cyclins A, B, and D1, respectively). A positive relationship was also found between cyclin A and D1 expression and H(3)-thymidine labeling index. In the in vitro model, the asynchronous growing MCF-7 cells showed a variable number of cells expressing cyclins in an unscheduled way, unrelated to the phase at which these cyclins are expressed in normal cells. A similar condition was also observed in tumors. In conclusion, the data showed a deregulated expression of cyclins in a transformed adenocarcinoma cell line and in breast tumors. Furthermore, overexpression of these proteins is related to the aneuploid and high proliferative activity of human mammary carcinomas.
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