BACKGROUND: Breast carcinoma with extensive peritumoral vascular invasion (ePVI-BC) is a cancer with massive vascular invasion (>10) detected in more than one slide. This neoplasm shows clinic-pathological affinity with inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC). In this paper we evaluate their biological relationship through the study of surrogate markers (beta-catenin and NFAT5) of Canonical (cWnt) and non-canonical (nWnt) Wnt pathways activation.METHODS: By immunoistochemistry, we investigate beta-catenin and NFAT5 in 39 IBC, 74 ePVI-BC and 84 control cases (CG-BC).RESULTS: cWnt was activated in 100 % of ePVI-BC, in 64 % of IBC and 10 % of CG-BC. nWnt was activated in 20 % of ePVI-BC, 50 % of IBC and 1% of CG-BC. The prognosis of carcinomas with nWnt activated was poor similar to IBC. The statistical analysis evidences as both the pathways are synergistic in malignant progression and survival time. beta-catenin show an important association with prognostic factors and NFAT5 shows a relevant prognostic role on OS (p = 1.5*10-6) and DFS (P = 1,2*10-4). nWnt is associated with a worse prognosis independently of cWnt. cWnt is associated with adverse prognosis (DFS p = 0.0469; OS p = 0.004891) but its prognostic role is indifferent in carcinoma with nWnt activated.CONCLUSIONS: Canonical Wnt pathway is involved in malignant progression with dominant role for vascular invasion whereas non canonical Wnt pathway plays an important role on survival time including the capacity to identify carcinomas with IBC-like prognosis. Furthermore ePVI may represent a "prodromal form of IBC" as demonstrated by its clinicopathological and biological similarity with IBC.
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