Expression of "Spot 14" (THRSP) predicts disease free survival in invasive breast cancer: immunohistochemical analysis of a new molecular marker

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SummaryMost breast cancers are "lipogenic", defined by high fatty acid synthase (FAS) content and dependence on fatty acid synthesis for growth and survival. S14 (Spot 14; THRSP) is a nuclear protein that activates genes required for fatty acid synthesis. The S14 gene is amplified in ∼15% of breast cancers, but clinical correlates of its expression were unknown. We analyzed 131 breast cancers by immunohistochemistry for S14 and FAS. Staining was graded 0, 1, or 2+, and scores were correlated with traditional tumor markers, histological features, and outcome. S14 and FAS staining were related to tumor size (p=0.05 for S14, p=0.038 for FAS), but not to stage. S14 but not FAS scores correlated with tumor grade in both DCIS (p=0.003) and invasive cases (p<0.001). Invasive cases (pooled node − and +) with weak S14 staining (n=21) showed no recurrence over 3000 d follow-up, including 10 cases with lymph node involvement, whereas 32% of 67 strongly-staining tumors recurred (log rank p<0.0001). S14 scores did not cosegregate with sex steroid receptors, Her2/neu, or cyclin D1. Low level S14 expression is associated with prolonged disease-free survival in invasive cases, including those with nodal metastasis. High-level expression of S14 identifies a subset of high-risk breast cancers that is not specified by analysis of sex steroid receptors, Her2/neu, or cyclin D1, and provides a molecular correlate to histologic features that predict recurrence.

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