Research Papers:

Differential prognostic impact of interleukin-34 mRNA expression and infiltrating immune cell composition in intrinsic breast cancer subtypes

Karin Zins, Gerwin Heller, Mathias Mayerhofer, Martin Schreiber and Dietmar Abraham _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:23126-23148. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25226

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Karin Zins1, Gerwin Heller2,4, Mathias Mayerhofer1, Martin Schreiber3,4 and Dietmar Abraham1,4

1Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical University of Vienna, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

2Department of Medicine I, Clinical Division of Oncology, Medical University of Vienna, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Vienna, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

4Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

Correspondence to:

Dietmar Abraham, email: [email protected]

Keywords: IL-34; CSF-1; gene expression; breast cancer patients; PAM50 subclasses

Received: September 15, 2017    Accepted: April 05, 2018    Published: May 01, 2018


Interleukin-34 (IL-34) is a ligand for the CSF-1R and has also two additional receptors, PTPRZ1 and syndecan-1. IL-34 plays a role in innate immunity, inflammation, and cancer. However, the role of IL-34 in breast cancer is still ill-defined. We analyzed IL-34 mRNA expression in breast cancer cell lines and breast cancer patients and applied established computational approaches (CIBERSORT, ESTIMATE, TIMER, TCIA), to analyze gene expression data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Expression of IL-34 was associated with a favorable prognosis in luminal and HER2 but not basal breast cancer patients. Gene expression of CSF-1 and CSF-1R was strongly associated with myeloid cell infiltration, while we found no or only weak correlations between IL-34, PTPRZ1, syndecan-1 and myeloid cells. In vitro experiments showed that tyrosine phosphorylation of CSF-1R, ERK, and FAK and cell migration are differentially regulated by IL-34 and CSF-1 in breast cancer cell lines. Collectively, our data suggest that correlation of IL-34 gene expression with survival is dependent on the molecular breast cancer subtype. Furthermore, IL-34 is not associated with myeloid cell infiltration and directly regulates breast cancer cell migration and signaling.

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