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Detection of cytokeratin-19 (CK19) expression as an epithelial-specific marker in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) of breast cancer patients can be important for diagnostic purposes. Comparison of CK19 expression in breast cancer cell lines can indicate that expression of this marker is different in various breast cancer cell lines based on their category. Thirty-five breast cancer patients were evaluated for detection of CK19 mRNA in their peripheral blood using CK19-specific primers and a nested reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique. CK19 expression levels were detected in MCF7, T47D, SK-BR-3, and MDA-MB-231 cell lines by semiquantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analyses. Statistical analysis of our data indicates that there is no significant difference between CK19 expression and histopathological parameters and some molecular markers, including Ki-67, HER-2, and P53, but there are statistically significant correlations between estrogen receptor (P = 0.040) and progesterone receptor (P = 0.046) with CK19 expression. CK19 expression was detected in MCF7, T47D, and SK-BR-3 cell lines but not in MDA-MB-231 cell line. More studies are needed to determine the relationship between this marker and other markers in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. On the other hand, the study of different markers using breast cancer cell lines as experimental models of breast cancer could have an impact on improving the health outcomes of patients with breast cancer.
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