Chemokine CXCL13 is overexpressed in the tumour tissue and in the peripheral blood of breast cancer patients

Br J Cancer. 2008 Sep 16;99(6):930-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604621.


The abilities of chemokines in orchestrating cellular migration are utilised by different (patho-)biological networks including malignancies. However, except for CXCR4/CXCL12, little is known about the relation between tumour-related chemokine expression and the development and progression of solid tumours like breast cancer. In this study, microarray analyses revealed the overexpression of chemokine CXCL13 in breast cancer specimens. This finding was confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction in a larger set of samples (n = 34) and cell lines, and was validated on the protein level performing Western blot, ELISA, and immunohistochemistry. Levels of CXCR5, the receptor for CXCL13, were low in malignant and healthy breast tissues, and surface expression was not detected in vitro. However, we observed a strong (P = 0.0004) correlation between the expressions of CXCL13 and CXCR5 in breast cancer tissues, indicating a biologically relevant role of CXCR5 in vivo. Finally, we detected significantly elevated serum concentrations of CXCL13 in patients with metastatic disease (n = 54) as compared with controls (n = 44) and disease-free patients (n = 48). In conclusion, CXCL13 is overexpressed within breast cancer tissues, and increased serum levels of this cytokine can be found in breast cancer patients with metastatic disease pointing to a role of CXCL13 in the progression of breast cancer, suggesting that CXCL13 might serve as a useful therapeutic target and/or diagnostic marker in this malignancy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / secondary
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chemokine CXCL13 / blood*
  • Chemokine CXCL13 / genetics*
  • Disease Progression
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, CXCR5 / blood
  • Receptors, CXCR5 / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • CXCL13 protein, human
  • CXCR5 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL13
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, CXCR5