Research Papers:

GD2 expression in breast cancer

Giulia Orsi, Monica Barbolini, Guido Ficarra, Giovanni Tazzioli, Paola Manni, Tiziana Petrachi, Ilenia Mastrolia, Enrico Orvieto, Carlotta Spano, Malvina Prapa, Shaniko Kaleci, Roberto D’Amico, Valentina Guarneri, Maria Vittoria Dieci, Stefano Cascinu, Pierfranco Conte, Federico Piacentini and Massimo Dominici _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:31592-31600. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16363

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Giulia Orsi1, Monica Barbolini1, Guido Ficarra2,3, Giovanni Tazzioli1,3, Paola Manni2, Tiziana Petrachi1, Ilenia Mastrolia1, Enrico Orvieto4, Carlotta Spano1, Malvina Prapa1, Shaniko Kaleci5, Roberto D’Amico5, Valentina Guarneri6, Maria Vittoria Dieci6, Stefano Cascinu1, Pierfranco Conte6, Federico Piacentini1,3,*, Massimo Dominici1,*

1Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences for Children and Adults, University-Hospital of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 71-41124 Modena, Italy

2Division of Pathology, University-Hospital of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 71-41124 Modena, Italy

3Breast Unit, University-Hospital of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 71-41124 Modena, Italy

4Department of Pathology, Padua University Hospital, 2-35128 Padua, Italy

5Department of Diagnostic and Clinical Medicine and Public Health, Statistics Unit, University-Hospital of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 71-41124 Modena, Italy

6Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, Division of Medical Oncology 2, Istituto Oncologico Veneto IRCCS, Via Gattamelata, 64-35128 Padua, Italy

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Massimo Dominici, email: [email protected]

Keywords: GD2, disialoganglioside, BC, TNBC, metaplastic

Received: November 04, 2016     Accepted: March 09, 2017     Published: March 18, 2017


Breast cancer (BC) is a heterogeneous disease, including different subtypes having diverse incidence, drug-sensitivity and survival rates. In particular, claudin-low and basal-like BC have mesenchymal features with a dismal prognosis. Disialoganglioside GD2 is a typical neuroectodermal antigen expressed in a variety of cancers. Despite its potential relevance in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, the presence and role of GD2 require further investigation, especially in BC. Therefore, we evaluated GD2 expression in a cohort of BC patients and its correlation with clinical-pathological features.

Sixty-three patients with BC who underwent surgery without prior chemo- and/or radiotherapy between 2001 and 2014 were considered. Cancer specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and GD2-staining was expressed according to the percentage of positive cells and by a semi-quantitative scoring system.

Patient characteristics were heterogeneous by age at diagnosis, histotype, grading, tumor size, Ki-67 and receptor-status. GD2 staining revealed positive cancer cells in 59% of patients. Among them, 26 cases (41%) were labeled with score 1+ and 11 (18%) with score 2+. Notably, the majority of metaplastic carcinoma specimens stained positive for GD2. The univariate regression logistic analysis revealed a significant association of GD2 with triple-receptor negative phenotype and older age (> 78) at diagnosis.

We demonstrate for the first time that GD2 is highly prevalent in a cohort of BC patients clustering on very aggressive BC subtypes, such as triple-negative and metaplastic variants.

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