Background: Nucleolin (NCL) is a multifunctional protein with oncogenic properties. Anti-NCL drugs show strong cytotoxic effects, including in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) models, and are currently being evaluated in phase II clinical trials. However, few studies have investigated the clinical value of NCL and whether NCL stratified cancer patients. Here, we have investigated for the first time the association of NCL with clinical characteristics in breast cancers independently of the different subtypes.
Methods: Using two independent series (n = 216; n = 661), we evaluated the prognostic value of NCL in non-metastatic breast cancers using univariate and/or multivariate Cox-regression analyses.
Results: We reported that NCL mRNA expression levels are markers of poor survivals independently of tumour size and lymph node invasion status (n = 216). In addition, an association of NCL expression levels with poor survival was observed in TNBC (n = 40, overall survival (OS) p = 0.0287, disease-free survival (DFS) p = 0.0194). Transcriptomic analyses issued from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database (n = 661) revealed that breast tumours expressing either low or high NCL mRNA expression levels exhibit different gene expression profiles. These data suggest that tumours expressing high NCL mRNA levels are different from those expressing low NCL mRNA levels.
Conclusions: NCL is an independent marker of prognosis in breast cancers. We anticipated that anti-NCL is a promising therapeutic strategy that could rapidly be evaluated in high NCL-expressing tumours to improve breast cancer management.
- breast cancer
- prognostic marker
- triple-negative breast cancer