Background: Predicting any future metastatic site of early-stage breast cancer is important as it significantly influences the prognosis of advanced disease. This study aimed at investigating the potential of claudin-2, over-expressed in breast cancer liver metastases, as a biomarker for predicting liver metastatic propensity in primary breast cancer.
Methods: Claudin-2 expression was analyzed in two independent cohorts. Cohort 1 included 304 women with metastatic breast cancer diagnosed between 2002 and 2007, while cohort 2 included 237 premenopausal women with early-stage node-negative breast cancer diagnosed between 1991 and 1994. Global transcriptional profiling of fine-needle aspirates from metastases was performed, followed by immunohistochemical analyses in archival primary tumor tissue. Associations between claudin-2 expression and relapse site were assessed by univariable and multivariable Cox regression models including conventional prognostic factors. Two-sided statistical tests were used.
Results: CLDN2 was significantly up-regulated (P < 0.001) in liver metastases compared to other metastatic sites. Claudin-2 protein was more frequently expressed in primary tumors from patients who subsequently developed liver metastases (P = 0.02) and high expression was associated with a shorter metastasis-free interval (cohort 1, HR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.0-1.9; cohort 2, HR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.3-3.5). Specifically, a significantly shorter interval between primary tumor diagnosis and liver-specific recurrence was observed among patients with high levels of claudin-2 expression in the primary tumor (cohort 1, HR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.3-3.9).
Conclusion: These results suggest a novel role for claudin-2 as a prognostic biomarker with the ability to predict not only the likelihood of a breast cancer recurrence, but more interestingly, the liver metastatic potential of the primary tumor.
Keywords: BCSS; Breast cancer; CI; CLDN2; Claudin-2; ER; HR; IHC; LNM; LiMFS; Liver metastasis; OR; PR; Prognostic biomarker; RFS; TMA; breast cancer specific survival; claudin-2 mRNA; confidence interval; estrogen receptor; hazard ratio; immunohistochemistry; liver metastasis-free survival; lymph node metastasis; odds ratio; progesterone receptor; relapse-free survival; tissue microarray.
Copyright © 2013 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.