Prognostic value of vitamin D receptor and insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 expression in triple-negative breast cancer

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Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterised by shorter overall survival and an early peak of distant recurrences with still no specific targeted treatment available. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) and insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 (IGFR) have recently been described as potential new targets for anticancer therapy, yet their roles in TNBCs are still to be explored. In this study we investigated VDR and IGFR expression in patients with TNBC and compared them with clinical and pathological parameters and survival to possibly demonstrate their prognostic and therapeutic relevance.


The study included 96 patients with TNBC. Clinical and pathological parameters were compared with the immunohistochemical expression of VDR and IGFR.


Positive VDR immunostaining was present in 27% of tumours and inversely correlated with higher mitotic score, histological grade and higher proliferation index measured by Ki-67 and related to the increased overall survival (OS). Out of 96 patients with TNBC, 35.5% of tumours were IGFR positive and correlated with higher mitotic score and Ki-67, and strongly correlated with shorter disease-free survival (DFS). Patients with VDR-negative and IGF-positive tumours had significantly lower DFS and OS.


Approximately one third of TNBCs express VDR and/or IGFR. Their expression is linked with the recurrence of the disease and survival, which make them possible targets for treatment and a prognostic tool for dividing TNBCs into more homogeneous subgroups.

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