Prognostic effect of hENT1, dCK and HuR expression by morphological type in periampullary adenocarcinoma, including pancreatic cancer

  • Elebro J
  • Dror L
  • Heby M
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Putative biomarkers of gemcitabine response have been extensively studied in pancreatic cancer, but less so in other types of periampullary adenocarcinoma. The most studied biomarker is human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1), and the activating enzyme deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) has also been linked to treatment response. The RNA-binding protein human antigen R (HuR) has been demonstrated to confer increased dCK levels in vitro and to predict gemcitabine response in vivo. Here, we investigated the prognostic impact of hENT1, dCK and HuR in pancreatobiliary (PB) and intestinal (I) type periampullary cancers, respectively.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Immunohistochemical expression of hENT1, dCK and HuR was evaluated in tissue microarrays with all primary tumours and 103 paired lymph node metastases from a consecutive retrospective cohort of 175 patients with resected periampullary adenocarcinomas.
RESULTS: In patients with PB-type tumours, neither hENT1 nor dCK expression was prognostic. A high HuR cytoplasmic/nuclear ratio was associated with a significantly reduced five-year overall survival (OS) in patients receiving adjuvant gemcitabine (HR 2.07, 95% CI 1.03-4.17) but not in untreated patients (pinteraction = 0.028). In patients with I-type tumours receiving adjuvant chemotherapy, high dCK expression was significantly associated with a prolonged recurrence-free survival (RFS) (HR 0.09, 95% CI 0.01-0.73, pinteraction = 0.023). Furthermore, HuR expression was associated with a prolonged OS and RFS in unadjusted but not in adjusted analysis and hENT1 expression was an independent predictor of a prolonged RFS (HR 0.24, 95% CI 0.10-0.59), regardless of adjuvant treatment.
CONCLUSION: hENT1 expression is a favourable prognostic factor in I-type, but not in PB-type tumours. High dCK expression is a favourable prognostic factor in patients with I-type tumours receiving adjuvant treatment and a high cytoplasmic/nuclear HuR ratio is a negative prognostic factor in gemcitabine-treated PB-type tumours. Morphological subtype should always be considered in biomarker studies on periampullary cancer.

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  • Jacob Elebro

  • Liv Ben Dror

  • Margareta Heby

  • Björn Nodin

  • Karin Jirström

  • Jakob Eberhard

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