Poor outcome in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers predicted by loss of plexin B1

Achim Rody, Uwe Holtrich, Regine Gaetje, Mathias Gehrmann, Knut Engels, Gunter Von Minckwitz, Sibylle Loibl, Raihanatou Diallo-Danebrock, Eugen Ruckhäberle, Dirk Metzler, Andre Ahr, Christine Solbach, Thomas Karn, Manfred Kaufmann

60 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: A common characteristic of mammary carcinomas is an inverse relationship between the estrogen receptor (ER) status and the proliferative activity of the tumor. Yet, a subset of ER-positive breast cancers is characterized by a high proliferation, suggesting malfunctions in ER responsiveness that influence the biological and therapeutic behavior of tumor cells. The expression of several ER-dependent genes seems to be dysregulated among those "uncoupled" tumors. One of those genes is plexin B1, a cell-surface receptor for the semaphorin Sema4D (CD 100). However, the biological role of plexin B1 in breast cancer is largely unknown. Experimental Design: Expression data of plexin B1 were obtained from Affymetrix microarray analysis of n = 119 breast cancer specimens. Validation was done by quantitative real-time PCR and protein expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Expression data were compared with clinical characteristics as well as follow-up data of the disease. Results: Low plexin B1 expression levels characterize a more aggressive tumor phenotype. The expression of plexin B1 is strongly correlated with the ER status. However, even among ER-positive tumors, loss of plexin B1 is associated with an impaired prognosis of breast cancer patients in both univariate (all patients, P = 0.0062; ER positive, P = 0.0107) and multivariate analyses (all patients, P = 0.032; ER positive, P = 0.022). Immunohistochemistry reveals that the tumor cells themselves and not the endothelial cells are the major source of plexin B1 expression in the tumor. Conclusion: Plexin B1 acts not only as a new important prognostic but should also represent a predictive marker indicating an endocrine resistance. These data give a new insight in markers that could be involved in endocrine dysregulation of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1115-1122
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 15.02.2007


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