No consensus treatment regime exists beyond surgery for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNST), and the purpose of the present study was to find new approaches to stratify patients with good and poor prognosis and to better guide therapeutic intervention for this aggressive soft tissue cancer. From a total of 67 MPNSTs from Scandinavian patients with and without neurofibromatosis type 1, 30 MPNSTs were investigated by genome-wide RNA expression profiling and 63 MPNSTs by immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis, and selected genes were submitted to analyses of disease-specific survival. The potential drug target genes survivin (BIRC5), thymidine kinase 1 (TK1), and topoisomerase 2-alpha (TOP2A), all encoded on chromosome arm 17q, were up-regulated in MPNST as compared to benign neurofibromas. Each of them was found to be independent prognostic markers on the gene expression level, as well as on the protein level. A prognostic profile was identified by combining the nuclear expression scores of the three proteins. For patients with completely resected tumours only 15% in the high risk group were alive after two years, as compared to 78% in the low risk group. In conclusion, we found a novel protein expression profile which identifies MPNST patients with inferior prognosis even after assumed curative surgery. The tested proteins are drug targets; therefore the expression profile may provide predictive information guiding the design of future clinical trials. Importantly, as the effect is seen on the protein level using IHC, the biomarker panel can be readily implemented in routine clinical testing.
Keywords: BIRC5; Immunohistochemistry; MPNST; Prognosis; Survivin; TK1; TOP2A.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.