Nuclear T-STAR Protein Expression Correlates with HER2 Status, Hormone Receptor Negativity and Prolonged Recurrence Free Survival in Primary Breast Cancer and Decreased Cancer Cell Growth In Vitro

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Abstract

T-STAR (testis-signal transduction and activation of RNA) is an RNA binding protein, containing an SH3-binding domain and thus potentially playing a role in integration of cell signaling and RNA metabolism. The specific function of T-STAR is unknown and its implication in cancer is poorly characterized. Expression of T-STAR has been reported in human testis, muscle and brain tissues, and is associated with a growth-inhibitory role in immortalized fibroblasts. The aim of this paper was to investigate the functional role of T-STAR through (i) survival analysis of patients with primary invasive breast cancer and (ii) experimental evaluation of the effect of T-STAR on breast cancer cell growth. T-STAR protein expression was analysed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in tissue microarrays with tumors from 289 patients with primary invasive breast cancer, and correlations to clinicopathological characteristics, recurrence-free and overall survival (RFS and OS) and established tumor markers such as HER2 and ER status were evaluated. In addition, the function of T-STAR was investigated using siRNA-mediated knock-down and overexpression of the gene in six breast cancer cell lines. Of the tumors analysed, 86% showed nuclear T-STAR expression, which was significantly associated with an improved RFS and strongly associated with positive HER2 status and negative hormone receptor status. Furthermore, experimental data showed that overexpression of T-STAR decreased cellular growth while knock-down increased it, as shown both by thymidine incorporation and metabolic activity. In summary, we demonstrate that T-STAR protein expression correlates with an improved RFS in primary breast cancer. This is supported by functional data, indicating that T-STAR regulation is of importance both for breast cancer biology and clinical outcome but future studies are needed to determine a potential role in patient stratification. © 2013 Sernbo et al.

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Sernbo, S., Borrebaeck, C. A. K., Uhlén, M., Jirström, K., & Ek, S. (2013). Nuclear T-STAR Protein Expression Correlates with HER2 Status, Hormone Receptor Negativity and Prolonged Recurrence Free Survival in Primary Breast Cancer and Decreased Cancer Cell Growth In Vitro. PLoS ONE, 8(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0070596

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