Keratin 17 is a negative prognostic biomarker in high-grade endometrial carcinomas

Hum Pathol. 2019 Dec:94:40-50. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2019.09.005. Epub 2019 Oct 23.


Keratin 17 (K17) has been established as a negative prognostic biomarker in cervical and ovarian cancers but has not previously been evaluated as a prognostic biomarker in endometrial adenocarcinoma. The association of K17 with decreased patient survival may be explained in part by the discovery that K17 drives tumor aggression by serving as a nuclear shuttle of p27, leading to cell cycle progression and tumor growth. The current study tests the hypothesis that K17 mRNA and protein levels correlate with decreased survival of patients with high-grade endometrial cancer. Gene expression data (mRNA) from The Cancer Genome Atlas were analyzed for 271 high-grade endometrial carcinomas and K17 immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed on a separate cohort of 119 high-grade endometrial cancer cases from two academic medical centers. Survival analyses were determined by Cox proportional hazards regression. High K17 mRNA and IHC correlated with decreased overall survival (HR: 1.8, P = .0101, HR: 1.8, P = .0488, respectively). K17 was positive in malignant glandular cells of the endometrium but not in other tissues, including endometrial stroma, myometrium and uterine sarcoma. These results support the conclusion that K17 is a negative prognostic biomarker in high-grade endometrial carcinoma and that K17 IHC test results could be used to inform decisions related to therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: Biomarker; Endometrial cancer; Immunohistochemistry; Keratin 17; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry*
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / genetics
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / mortality
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratin-17 / analysis*
  • Keratin-17 / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • United States


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • KRT17 protein, human
  • Keratin-17