Prognostic significance of expression of epithelial‑mesenchymal transition driver brachyury in breast cancer and its association with subtype and characteristics
- Kwan Ho Lee
- Eun Young Kim
- Ji Sup Yun
- Yong Lai Park
- Sung‑Im Do
- Seoung Wan Chae
- Chan Heun Park
Published online on: November 14, 2017
Copyright: © Lee et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Brachyury is a T‑box transcription factor characterized as a driver of the epithelial‑to‑mesenchymal process, which is associated with poor prognosis of patients with breast cancer. The present study investigated expression of brachyury in breast cancer including primary tumor, metastatic and recurred tumor tissues, and the clinical significance and value of brachyury as a prognostic biomarker. This retrospective study included a series of 102 consecutive patients surgically resected between January 2005 and December 2011. Brachyury expression in tumor cell was evaluated using immunohistochemistry and scored as the immunoactivity. Of 102 patients, 62 primary tumors were positive for brachyury expression and 40 were negative. Multivariate analysis of disease‑free survival (DFS) revealed brachyury expression, HER2 and lymphovascular invasion as independent prognostic factors [brachyury negative vs. positive hazard ratio (HR), 3.0; P=0.024; HER2 negative vs. positive HR, 4.9; P=0.003; lymphovascular invasion absent vs. present HR, 3.5; P=0.020]. These results were particularly observed in triple‑negative breast cancer (TNBC), no recurrence or mortality occurred in brachyury negative group during the follow‑up period, and therefore a significantly improved prognosis was demonstrated in these patients compared with the brachyury positive group [overall survival (OS), P=0.022; DFS, P=0.002]. Brachyury expression in metastatic lymph node/recurred tumors was not significantly associated with prognosis (OS, P=0.745; DFS, P=0.189). Therefore, Brachyury expression in primary tumor independently is a potential predictor of poor prognosis, particularly in TNBC, where it appears to serve a crucial function in recurrence and mortality. Brachyury vaccines under clinical trials are likely to be useful in patients with breast cancer.