Prognostic significance of CD9 expression differs between tumour cells and stromal immune cells, and depends on the molecular subtype of the invasive breast carcinoma

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Abstract

Aims:

CD9, a tetraspanin transmembrane protein, modulates cell motility, migration, and proliferation. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic significance of CD9 expression in patients with invasive breast carcinoma (IBC).

Methods and results:

CD9 expression was evaluated in tissue microarrays of 1349 IBC samples via immunohistochemistry. CD9 expression in tumour cells (T-CD9 expression) and CD9 expression in stromal immune cells (S-CD9 expression) were analysed separately. T-CD9 expression was observed in 732 (54.3%) cases, and was associated with lymph node metastasis, histological type, lymphovascular invasion, high histological grade, HER2 positivity, a high Ki67 labelling index, and distant metastasis. S-CD9 expression was observed in 833 (61.7%) cases, and was associated with large tumour size, histological type, high histological grade, negative hormone receptors, HER2 positivity, a high Ki67 labelling index, and tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes. Patients with T-CD9 expression had shorter disease-free survival (DFS) than those without T-CD9 expression in the univariate and multivariate analyses. However, S-CD9 expression correlated significantly with a favourable DFS in the univariate and multivariate analyses. In the subgroup analysis, T-CD9 expression and S-CD9 expression were independent markers for DFS in luminal A and luminal B (HER2-negative) subgroups, respectively.

Conclusions:

T-CD9 expression could be a biomarker for poor prognosis in luminal A IBC, whereas S-CD9 expression could be a marker of good prognosis in luminal B (HER2-negative) IBC. Therefore, tumour compartment-specific analyses considering molecular subtypes are necessary to study the prognostic significance of CD9 expression in IBC.

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