PROX1 is a transcription factor with an essential role in embryonic development and determination of cell fate. In addition, PROX1 has been ascribed suppressive as well as oncogenic roles in several human cancers, including brain tumors. In this study we explored the correlation between PROX1 expression and patient survival in high-grade astrocytomas. For this purpose, we analyzed protein expression in tissue microarrays of tumor samples stratified by patient age and IDH mutation status. We initially screened 86 unselected high-grade astrocytomas, followed by 174 IDH1-R132H1 immunonegative glioblastomas derived from patients aged 60 years and older enrolled in the Nordic phase III trial of elderly patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. Representing the younger population of glioblastomas, we studied 80 IDH-wildtype glioblastomas from patients aged 18-60 years. There was no correlation between PROX1 protein and survival for patients with primary glioblastomas included in these cohorts. In contrast, high expression of PROX1 protein predicted shorter survival in the group of patients with IDH-mutant anaplastic astrocytomas and secondary glioblastomas. The prognostic impact of PROX1 in IDH-mutant 1p19q non-codeleted high-grade astrocytomas, as well as the negative findings in primary glioblastomas, was corroborated by gene expression data extracted from the Cancer Genome Atlas. We conclude that PROX1 is a new prognostic biomarker for 1p19q non-codeleted high-grade astrocytomas that have progressed from pre-existing low-grade tumors and harbor IDH mutations.
Keywords: Gerotarget; IDH mutations; PROX1; malignant astrocytomas; primary glioblastomas; secondary glioblastomas.