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.
© 2023 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.