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Two E-selectin ligands, BST-2 and LGALS3BP, predict metastasis and poor survival of ER-negative breast cancer

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Natalie Woodman, Sarah E. Pinder, Virginia Tajadura, Xuefen Le Bourhis, Cheryl Gillett, Philippe Delannoy, Joy M. Burchell, Sylvain Julien

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-275
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number1
Early online date13 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


King's Authors


Distant metastases account for the majority of cancer-related deaths in breast cancer. The rate and site of metastasis differ between estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and ER-positive tumours, and metastatic fate can be very diverse even within the ER-negative group. Characterisation of new pro-metastatic markers may help to identify patients with higher risk and improve their care accordingly. Selectin ligands aberrantly expressed by cancer cells promote metastasis by enabling interaction between circulating tumour cells and endothelial cells in distant organs. These ligands consist in carbohydrate molecules, such as sialyl-Lewis x antigen (sLex), borne by glycoproteins or glycolipids on the cancer cell surface. We have previously demonstrated that the molecular scaffold presenting sLex to selectins (e.g. glycolipid vs. glycoproteins) was crucial for these interactions to occur. Moreover, we reported that detection of sLex alone in breast carcinomas was only of limited prognostic value. However, since sLex was found to be carried by several glycoproteins in cancer cells, we hypothesized that the combination of the carbohydrate with its carriers could be more relevant than each marker independently. In this study, we addressed this question by analysing sLex expression together with two glycoproteins (BST-2 and LGALS3BP), shown to interact with E-selectin in a carbohydrate-dependent manner, in a cohort of 249 invasive breast cancers. We found both glycoproteins to be associated with distant metastasis risk and poorer survival. Importantly, concomitant high expression of BST-2 with sLex defined a sub-group of patients with ER-negative tumours displaying higher risks of liver and brain metastasis and a 3-fold decreased survival rate.

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