Evaluation of liver kinase B1 downstream signaling expression in various breast cancers and relapse free survival after systemic chemotherapy treatment

Khoa Nguyen, Andrew Rivera, Madlin Alzoubi, Henri Wathieu, Shengli Dong, Hassan Yousefi, Margarite Matossian, Suresh Alahari, David Drewry, Matthew Burow and Bridgette Collins-Burow _

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Oncotarget. 2021; 12:1110-1115. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27929

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Khoa Nguyen1,*, Andrew Rivera1,*, Madlin Alzoubi1, Henri Wathieu1, Shengli Dong2, Hassan Yousefi2, Margarite Matossian1, Suresh Alahari2, David Drewry3, Matthew Burow1 and Bridgette Collins-Burow1

1 Department of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA

2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, LSUHSC School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA

3 UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

* These authors contributed equally to this work & are co-first authors

Correspondence to:

Bridgette Collins-Burow,email: bcollin1@tulane.edu

Keywords: LKB1; STK11; breast cancer; triple negative breast cancer; patient prognosis

Received: October 08, 2020     Accepted: March 15, 2021     Published: May 25, 2021

Copyright: © 2021 Nguyen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


LKB1-signaling has prominent roles in cancer development and metastasis. This report evaluates LKB1-signaling pathway gene expression associations with patient survival in overall breast cancer, specific subtypes, as well as pre- and post-chemotherapy. Subtypes analyzed were based on intrinsic molecular subtyping and traditional biomarker classifications. Intrinsic molecular subtypes included were Luminal-A, Luminal-B, HER2-enriched, and Basal-like. The biomarker subtypes assessed were Estrogen-Receptor Positive (ER+) and Negative (ER-), Wild-Type TP53 (WT-TP53) & Mutant-TP53, and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). Additionally, comparisons were made between these subtypes and breast cancer overall, and analyses between LKB1 signaling to patient survival before and after chemotherapy were made. We used the Kaplan-Meier Online Tool (KM Plotter) to correlate the relationship between mRNA expression of known LKB1 scaffolding proteins (CAB39 and LYK5), and downstream signaling targets (AMPK, MARK1, MARK2, MARK3, MARK4, NUAK1, NUAK2, PAK1, SIK1, SIK2, BRSK1, BRSK2, SNRK, and QSK), and patient survival across each subtype and treatment group. Our findings provide evidence that LKB1-signaling is associated with improved survival in overall breast cancer. Stratification into breast cancer subtypes show a more complicated relationship; NUAK2, for example, is correlated with improved survival in ER- but is worse in ER+ breast cancer. In evaluating the association of LKB1-signaling pathway expression with relapse free survival of varying breast cancer tumors exposed to chemotherapy or treatment-naive tumors, our data provides baseline knowledge for understanding the pathway dynamics that affect survival and therefore are linked to pathology. This establishes a foundation for studying LKB1 targets with the goal of identifying druggable targets.

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