Breast cancer is a global health threat and cases diagnosed in women during the years after childbirth, or postpartum breast cancers (PPBCs), have high risk for metastasis. In preclinical murine models, semaphorin 7a (SEMA7A) drives the metastatic potential of postpartum mammary tumors. Thus, we hypothesize that SEMA7A may drive metastasis of PPBC in women. We report that SEMA7A protein expression is increased in PPBCs compared to their nulliparous counterparts in our University of Colorado cohort. Additionally, tumors from PPBC patients with involved lymph nodes and lymphovascular invasion were higher on average suggesting a potential role for SEMA7A as a prognostic biomarker. Consistent with this hypothesis we identify a level of SEMA7A expression in tumors that can predict for recurrence. We propose SEMA7A as a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for PPBC patients, who currently lack strong predictors of outcome and unique targeted therapy options.
Keywords: Breast cancer; Prognostic markers.
© The Author(s) 2020.