MCP-1 expression in breast cancer and its association with distant relapse

Cancer Med. 2023 Aug;12(15):16221-16230. doi: 10.1002/cam4.6284. Epub 2023 Jun 21.


Background: Distant relapse of breast cancer complicates management of the disease and accounts for 90% of breast cancer-related deaths. Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) has critical roles in breast cancer progression and is widely accepted as a pro-metastatic chemokine.

Methods: This study explored MCP-1 expression in the primary tumour of 251 breast cancer patients. A simplified 'histoscore' was used to determine if each tumour had high or low expression of MCP-1. Patient breast cancers were retrospectively staged based on available patient data. p < 0.05 was used to determine significance and changes in hazard ratios between models were considered.

Results: Low MCP-1 expression in the primary tumour was associated with breast cancer-related death with distant relapse in ER- breast cancers (p < 0.01); however, this was likely a result of most low MCP-1-expressing ER- breast cancers being Stage III or Stage IV, with high MCP-1 expression in the primary tumour significantly correlated with Stage I breast cancers (p < 0.05). Expression of MCP-1 in the primary ER- tumours varied across Stage I, II, III and IV and we highlighted a switch in MCP-1 expression from high in Stage I ER- cancers to low in Stage IV ER- cancers.

Conclusion: This study has emphasised a critical need for further investigation into MCP-1's role in breast cancer progression and improved characterisation of MCP-1 in breast cancers, particularly in light of the development of anti-MCP-1, anti-metastatic therapies.

Keywords: CCL2; metastasis; neoplasm; protein; tumour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Chemokine CCL2 / genetics
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Chemokine CCL2