Expression of dickkopf-1 and beta-catenin related to the prognosis of breast cancer patients with triple negative phenotype

PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37624. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037624. Epub 2012 May 23.


Background and aim: We investigated the prognostic importance of dickkopf-1(DKK1) and beta-catenin expression in triple negative breast cancers.

Methods: The expression of DKK1 and beta-catenin was evaluated in breast cell lines using RT-PCR and western blot. Immunohistochemistry was used to characterize the expression pattern of DKK1 and beta-catenin in 85 triple negative breast cancers and prognostic significance was assessed by Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression modeling.

Results: The expression of DKK1 was confirmed in hormone-resistant breast cell lines MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-231-HM and MDA-MB-435. Expression of DKK1 in triple negative breast cancers correlated with cytoplasmic/nuclear beta-catenin (p = 0.000). Elevated expression of DKK1 and cytoplasmic/nuclear beta-catenin in triple negative cancers indicate poor outcome of patients. DKK1 was also a prognostic factor for patients with earlier stage or no lymph node metastasis.

Conclusion: DKK1 together with beta-catenin might be important prognostic factors in triple negative breast carcinoma. DKK1 might be a valuable biomarker in predicting the prognosis of patients with earlier stage or no lymph node metastasis. It is possible that through further understanding of the role of Wnt/beta-catenin pathway activation, beta-catenin would be a potential therapeutic target for the triple negative breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Phenotype*
  • Prognosis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DKK1 protein, human
  • DNA Primers
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • beta Catenin