There is growing evidence that patients with metastatic breast cancer whose disease progresses from a new metastasis (NM) have a worse prognosis than that of patients whose disease progresses from a pre-existing metastasis. The aim of this pilot study is to identify a blood biomarker predicting NM in breast cancer. Methods: The expression of epithelial (cytokeratin 18/19) or mesenchymal (plastin-3, vimentin, and N-cadherin) markers in the peripheral blood (PB) of recurrent breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy with eribulin or S-1 was measured over the course of treatment by RT-qPCR. The clinical significance of preoperative N-cadherin expression in the PB or tumor tissues of breast cancer patients undergoing curative surgery was assessed by RT-qPCR or using public datasets. Finally, N-cadherin expression in specific PB cell types was assessed by RT-qPCR. Results: The expression levels of the mesenchymal markers N-cadherin and vimentin were high in the NM cases, whereas that of the epithelial marker cytokeratin 18 was high in the pre-existing metastasis cases. High preoperative N-cadherin expression in PB or tumor tissues was significantly associated with poor recurrence-free survival. N-cadherin was expressed mainly in polymorphonuclear leukocytes in PB. Conclusion: N-cadherin mRNA levels in blood may serve as a novel prognostic biomarker predicting NM, including recurrence, in breast cancer patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry