Research Papers:

Clinical associations of mucin 1 in human lung cancer and precancerous lesions

Andreas Saltos, Farah Khalil, Michelle Smith, Jiannong Li, Michael Schell, Scott J. Antonia and Jhanelle E. Gray _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:35666-35675. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26278

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Andreas Saltos1, Farah Khalil2, Michelle Smith1, Jiannong Li3, Michael Schell3, Scott J. Antonia1 and Jhanelle E. Gray1

1Department of Thoracic Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA

2Department of Anatomic Pathology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA

3Department of Biostatistics/Bioinformatics, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA

Correspondence to:

Jhanelle E. Gray, email: [email protected]

Keywords: lung cancer; tumor pathology; glycoprotein; MUC1; non-small cell lung cancer

Received: May 01, 2018     Accepted: October 06, 2018     Published: November 02, 2018


Mucin 1 (MUC1) is a cell membrane glycoprotein overexpressed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and has been implicated in carcinogenesis of premalignant lung lesions. Thus, MUC1 has been a target of interest for vaccine strategies for lung cancer treatment and prevention. Here, we assessed MUC1 expression by immunohistochemistry using tumor samples from patients with biopsy-proven NSCLC. Levels of expression in areas of dysplasia, metaplasia, adenocarcinoma in situ, and carcinoma within the same tissue sample were characterized independently on a scale of 0–3 for paired comparison. We also assessed clinical data for correlations with MUC1 expression. Our analysis included 16 samples from patients with squamous lesions and 19 from patients with adenocarcinoma lesions. Among squamous lesions, MUC1 expression score was significantly increased in dysplastic compared with metaplastic areas (mean difference = 0.83, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.21-infinity; P = 0.021). MUC1 expression was also increased among areas of squamous cell carcinoma versus dysplastic areas (mean difference = 0.44, 95% CI, −0.006-infinity; P = 0.052). In the adenocarcinoma lesions, MUC1 expression was increased in adenocarcinoma versus adenocarcinoma in situ, although not significantly (mean difference = 0.20, 95% CI, −0.055-infinity; P = 0.094). The increase in MUC1 expression with the progression of premalignant lung lesions to invasive carcinoma in patients with NSCLC supports MUC1 as a possible therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of lung cancer.

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