Prognostic Significance of Cellular Iron Metabolism in Breast Cancer


  • Amber Hassan Department of System Medicine, Ceinge Biotechnologie Avanzate S.C.R.L. University of Milan, Milan, Italy
  • Tallat Anwar Faridi University Institute of Public health, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, The UNiversity of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Imrana Tanvir Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine in Rabigh, King Abdulaziz University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Uzma Rafi Department of Biology, Lahore Garrison University, Lahore. Pakistan



breast cancer, iron, cellular iron, biopsy


Cancer is caused due to rapid and uncontrolled growth of cells. Among females, breast cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer globally. The most common risk factors for developing breast cancer are family history and estrogens. Radiation exposure, alcohol use, tobacco smoking, age and race are other risk factors of developing breast cancer. Objective: Aim of the present study was to check iron expression in the biopsies of patients with different grades of breast cancer and to see the prognostic significance of cellular iron metabolism in breast cancer. Methods: A total of 24 breast biopsies were studied using cross sectional study design, among which 19 cases were poorly differentiated, 5 cases were moderately differentiated and there was no case of well differentiated breast carcinoma. These total 24 biopsies were taken between age 20 to 80 years and all patients were females. Results: Among the 5  moderately differentiated cases ,2 cases  (40%) were positive for iron staining and among 19 poorly differentiated cases, 8 cases (42%) were positive for iron staining. patients between age group 41-80 were more iron positive. Conclusion: It has been concluded that iron plays a significant role in the development of breast cancer. Both excess and deficient iron levels can potentially affect prognosis of breast cancer.


Cook NR, Rosner BA, Hankinson SE, Colditz GA. Mammographic screening and risk factors for breast cancer. American journal of epidemiology. 2009 Dec 1;170(11):1422-32. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp304

Cortese ME, Marubini E, Paradiso A, Rosai J, Saragoni L, Verderio P, Aldi M, Andreini L, Bianchi S, Rocca PC, De Rosa G. Quality control for histological grading in breast cancer: an Italian experience. Pathologica. 2005 Feb;97(1):1-6.

Alkhateeb AA, Han B, Connor JR. Ferritin stimulates breast cancer cells through an iron-independent mechanism and is localized within tumor-associated macrophages. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2013 Feb;137(3):733-44. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2405-x.

Bae YJ, Yeon JY, Sung CJ, Kim HS, Sung MK. Dietary intake and serum levels of iron in relation to oxidative stress in breast cancer patients. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition. 2009;45(3):355-60. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.09-46

Komaki K, Sano N, Tangoku A. Problems in histological grading of malignancy and its clinical significance in patients with operable breast cancer. Breast cancer. 2006;13(3):249-53. doi: 10.2325/jbcs.13.249.

Dowsett M. Introduction to sessions on'Predicting personal risk for breast cancer'. Breast Cancer Research. 2008 Dec;10(4):1-2.

DeSantis C, Ma J, Bryan L, Jemal A. Breast cancer statistics, 2013. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians. 2014 Jan;64(1):52-62. doi: 10.3322/caac.21203.

Ferrucci, L. M., A. J. Cross, et al. (2009). "Intake of meat, meat mutagens, and iron and the risk of breast cancer in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial." Br J Cancer 101(1): 178-184. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605118.

Miller LD, Coffman LG, Chou JW, Black MA, Bergh J, D'Agostino R, Torti SV, Torti FM. An iron regulatory gene signature predicts outcome in breast cancer. Cancer research. 2011 Nov 1;71(21):6728-37. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-1870

Jian J, Yang Q, Dai J, Eckard J, Axelrod D, Smith J, Huang X. Effects of iron deficiency and iron overload on angiogenesis and oxidative stress—a potential dual role for iron in breast cancer. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2011 Apr 1;50(7):841-7. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.12.028.

Shiozawa M, Lefor AT, Hozumi Y, Kurihara K, Sata N, Yasuda Y, Kusakabe M. Sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with breast cancer using superparamagnetic iron oxide and a magnetometer. Breast Cancer. 2013 Jul;20(3):223-9. doi: 10.1007/s12282-011-0327-9.

Stein H. Grading invasiver Mammakarzinome nach Elston und Ellis. Der Pathologe. 2007 Jul;28(4):307-.

Mannello F, Tonti GA, Simone P, Ligi D, Medda V. Iron-binding proteins and C-reactive protein in Nipple Aspirate Fluids: role of Iron-driven inflammation in breast cancer microenvironment?. American journal of translational research. 2011;3(1):100.

Von Wasielewski R, Klöpper K, Lück HJ, Kreipe H. Improvement of breast cancer grading in punch biopsies: grading with the Ki-67 marker. Der Pathologe. 2006 Sep 1;27(5):337-45. doi: 10.1007/s00292-006-0855-9.

Stevens RG, Cologne JB, Nakachi K, Grant EJ, Neriishi K. Body iron stores and breast cancer risk in female atomic bomb survivors. Cancer science. 2011 Dec;102(12):2236-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2011.02080.x.

Barnes DR, Antoniou AC. Unravelling modifiers of breast and ovarian cancer risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers: update on genetic modifiers. Journal of internal medicine. 2012 Apr;271(4):331-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02502.x.

Gibbons JA, Kanwar JR, Kanwar RK. Iron-free and iron-saturated bovine lactoferrin inhibit survivin expression and differentially modulate apoptosis in breast cancer. BMC Cancer 15, 425 (2015).

Alkhateeb AA, Han B, Connor JR. Ferritin stimulates breast cancer cells through an iron-independent mechanism and is localized within tumor-associated macrophages. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2013 Feb;137(3):733-44. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2405-x.

Pinnix ZK, Miller LD, Wang W, D’Agostino Jr R, Kute T, Willingham MC, Hatcher H, Tesfay L, Sui G, Di X, Torti SV. Ferroportin and iron regulation in breast cancer progression and prognosis. Science translational medicine. 2010 Aug 4;2(43):43ra56-. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001127.

Torti SV, Torti FM. Iron and cancer: more ore to be mined. Nature Reviews Cancer. 2013 May;13(5):342-55. doi: 10.1038/nrc3495.

Ye C, Dai Q, Lu W, Cai Q, Zheng Y, Shu XO, Gu K, Gao YT, Zheng W. Two-stage case-control study of common ATM gene variants in relation to breast cancer risk. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2007 Nov;106(1):121-6. doi: 10.1007/s10549-006-9473-8.



DOI: 10.54393/df.v2i2.25
Published: 2021-12-31

How to Cite

Hassan, A., Faridi, T. A. ., Tanvir, I., & Rafi, U. (2021). Prognostic Significance of Cellular Iron Metabolism in Breast Cancer. DIET FACTOR (Journal of Nutritional and Food Sciences), 2(2), 29–33.



Original Article