Research Papers:

Expression of EMT markers and mode of surgery are prognostic in phyllodes tumors of the breast

Xiaolong Feng, Lin Zhao, Honghong Shen, Xiaozhen Liu, Yang Yang, Shuhua Lv and Yun Niu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:33365-33374. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16497

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Xiaolong Feng1, Lin Zhao1, Honghong Shen1, Xiaozhen Liu1, Yang Yang1, Shuhua Lv2 and Yun Niu1

1Key Laboratory of Breast Cancer Prevention and Therapy (Ministry of Education), Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Therapy, Tianjin, China

2Department of Pathology, Tianjin Union Medical Center, Tianjin People’s Hospital, Tianjin, China

Correspondence to:

Yun Niu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: phyllodes tumors of the breast, epithelial to mesenchymal, mesenchymal stem cells, clinicopathological features, survival rate

Received: September 14, 2016     Accepted: February 27, 2017     Published: March 23, 2017


Phyllodes tumors of the breast are rare neoplasms that account for <1% of all mammary tumors and 2-3% of fibro-epithelial neoplasms of the breast. We evaluated the clinicopathological characteristics of a cohort of 246 Chinese patients in relation to the expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) markers in benign, borderline and malignant tumors and the prognostic value of different surgical regimens. We observed that survival outcomes correlated with the mode of surgical management in the three patient groups. Expression of E-cadherin, Snail, Slug and Twist were higher in epithelial cells from borderline and malignant tumors than those in benign tumors, whereas the expression of N-cadherin was opposite. Levels of the EMT markers Snail and Slug in the stromal compartment increased with the advancing tumor grade. Expression of mesenchymal stem cell markers contributed to the inherent heterogeneity in the malignant tumors. Based on Cox models, surgical management emerged as an independent predictor for disease-free survival, whereas a history of recent growth and tumor grade were independent predictors for overall survival. These findings show that expression of EMT markers, the mode of surgical management, and a history of recent tumor growth had prognostic potential for patients with phyllodes tumors of the breast.

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