Research Papers:

Heterogeneity of CEACAM5 in breast cancer

Marc B. Bechmann, Andreas V. Brydholm, Victoria L. Codony, Jiyoung Kim and René Villadsen _

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Oncotarget. 2020; 11:3886-3899. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27778

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Marc B. Bechmann1, Andreas V. Brydholm1, Victoria L. Codony1, Jiyoung Kim1,2 and René Villadsen1

1 Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

2 Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence to:

René Villadsen,email: [email protected]

Keywords: CEACAM5; CEA; immunohistochemistry; breast cancer; invasion

Received: July 09, 2020     Accepted: September 29, 2020     Published: October 27, 2020

Copyright: © 2020 Bechmann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


CEACAM5 is overexpressed in many primary breast carcinomas. However, the exact role of CEACAM5 in breast cancer tumorigenesis remains unresolved. Here, we examined a repository of 110 cryopreserved primary breast carcinomas by immunohistochemistry to assess the distribution of CEACAM5 in tumor subtypes. The majority of estrogen receptor-positive and HER2-overexpressing tumors were CEACAM5-positive, whereas most of Triple-negative tumors were negative. Assessing sample sets of paired primary breast cancers and corresponding lymph node lesions from a total of 59 patients revealed a high correlation between primary tumor and lymph node with regard to CEACAM5-status. However, a notable subset of sample sets demonstrated intratumoral heterogeneity in the primary tumor, the metastatic lesion or both, suggesting that both CEACAM5-positive and –negative cells can play a role in tumor dissemination. When examining the consequence of expression of CEACAM5 in breast cancer cell lines in culture assays we found that CEACAM5-expressing cells were less invasive. In survival analysis, using cohort studies of breast cancer, expression of CEACAM5 predicted different clinical outcomes depending on molecular subtypes. Altogether, our analysis suggests that CEACAM5 plays a context-dependent role in breast cancer that warrants further investigation.

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