Soluble Neuropilin-1 is an independent marker of poor prognosis in early breast cancer

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2021 Aug;147(8):2233-2238. doi: 10.1007/s00432-021-03635-1. Epub 2021 Apr 21.


Background: Neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) is a transmembrane protein that acts as a multifunctional non-tyrosine kinase receptor with an established role in development and immunity. NRP-1 also regulates tumor biology, and high expression levels of tissue NRP-1 have been associated with a poor prognosis. Recently, ELISA-based quantification of soluble NRP-1 (sNRP-1) has become available, but little is known about the prognostic value of sNRP-1 in malignancies.

Materials and methods: We measured sNRP-1 in the serum of 509 patients with primary early breast cancer (BC) at the time of diagnosis using ELISA.

Results: Mean serum values of sNRP-1 were 1.88 ± 0.52 nmol/l (= 130.83 ± 36.24 ng/ml). SNRP-1 levels weakly correlated with age, and were higher in peri- and postmenopausal patients compared to premenopausal patients, respectively (p < 0.0001). Low levels of sNRP-1 were associated with a significant survival benefit compared to high sNRP-1 levels at baseline (p = 0.005; HR 1.94; 95%CI 1.23-3.06). These findings remained significant after adjustment for tumor stage including lymph node involvement, grading, hormone receptor, HER2 status, and age (p = 0.022; HR 1.78; 95%CI 1.09-2.91).

Conclusion: Our findings warrant further investigations into the prognostic and therapeutic potential of sNRP-1 in BC.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Neuropilin-1; Prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neuropilin-1 / blood*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Solubility


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neuropilin-1