STAT3 tyrosine phosphorylation influences survival in glioblastoma

J Neurooncol. 2010 Dec;100(3):339-43. doi: 10.1007/s11060-010-0195-8. Epub 2010 May 9.


Signal transducer and activator of transcription protein 3 (STAT3) is a regulator of central nervous system (CNS) development and a promising therapeutic target in human cancers. Activation of STAT3 promotes oncogenesis in a variety of tissues, but knowledge of its role in glioblastoma is still limited. Recent results indicate that STAT3 acts as a tumor suppressor or an oncogene depending upon the genetic background of the tumor. Here we immunohistochemically assessed Y705-phosphorylated STAT3 (pY705-STAT3) in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of 111 patients with supratentorial glioblastomas and 25 patients with supratentorial grade III gliomas. We found that glioblastoma patients with high or very high numbers of pY705-STAT3-positive tumor cells had significantly shorter overall survival than those with no or low numbers (P = 0.001, Cox regression). Interestingly the proportion of grade III glioma cases with high or very high numbers of pY705-STAT3-positive tumor cells was similar to that in glioblastoma. Our findings provide evidence that activation of STAT3 by Y705 phosphorylation is linked with clinically more aggressive behavior in glioblastomas, but is most likely not associated with tumor progression of grade III gliomas. In sum, our results suggest that STAT3 inhibition should be considered as a therapeutic approach in malignant gliomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Glioblastoma / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphorylation / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • Tyrosine