Pleiotrophin as a potential biomarker in breast cancer patients

Clin Chim Acta. 2017 Mar:466:6-12. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2016.12.030. Epub 2016 Dec 29.


Background: Pleiotrophin (PTN), a multifunctional growth factor, is up-regulated in many tumors. PTN is reported to play an important role in the regulation of several cellular processes. The objective of this study is to evaluate the clinical significance of PTN as a tumor marker in breast cancer (BC).

Methods: Serum PTN levels were detected in 105 BC patients and 40 healthy volunteers using ELISA. In addition, PTN expression was examined in 80 BC tissues in a nested case-control study by immunohistochemistry.

Results: Serum PTN levels were elevated in BC patients compared to healthy controls. Area under receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.878 (95% CI: 0.824-0.932). The sensitivity of serum PTN was superior to CEA and CA15-3. High serum PTN levels were associated with TNM stage, histology grade, and distant metastasis. Moreover, serum PTN levels decreased significantly after surgical treatment. In BC tissues, PTN expression was significantly higher in BC tissues relative to paired paracancerous tissues. Tissue PTN expression proved to be a prognostic factor for breast cancer according to multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Conclusion: PTN could be considered as a potential biomarker for the presence of breast cancer.

Keywords: Biomarker; Breast cancer; Diagnosis; Pleiotrophin; Prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carrier Proteins / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytokines
  • pleiotrophin