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International journal of oncology

Chondroitin sulfate expression predicts poor outcome in breast cancer.


PMID 21850370

Abstract

Experimental studies have established that the sulfated glycosaminoglycans heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate act as co-receptors of cytokines and growth factors that drive the malignant cell phenotype and the remodelling of the surrounding tumor stroma. However, the clinical relevance of these studies remains ill-defined. The present study investigates the significance of chondroitin sulfate expression in malignant cells and the stroma, respectively, of tumors from two independent cohorts of breast cancer patients (cohort I: 144 patients, 130 evaluable samples; cohort II: 498 patients, 469 evaluable samples; ER-positive patients ~86% in both cohorts). Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards modelling were used to assess the relationship between chondroitin sulfate and recurrence-free and overall survival. High chondroitin sulfate expression in malignant cells was shown to predict shorter recurrence-free survival (P=0.007, cohortxa0I; P=0.024, cohort II) and overall survival (cohort I: P=0.044; cohort II: P<0.001) in both cohorts. In multivariate analysis, high chondroitin sulfate in malignant cells was shown to be an independent, predictive factor of poor overall survival (cohort I: hazard ratio 2.28: 95% confidence interval 1.08-4.81, P=0.031; cohort II: hazard ratio 1.71: 95% confidence interval 1.23-2.38, P=0.001). However, chondroitin sulfate in the stroma showed no correlation with known markers of tumor aggressiveness or with clinical outcome in either cohort. Our data suggest that high chondroitin sulfate expression in malignant cells is associated with an adverse outcome in patients with primary breast cancer, supporting the idea of a functional and potentially targetable role of chondroitin sulfate in tumor disease.

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