Research Papers:

Met and its ligand HGF are associated with clinical outcome in breast cancer

Cynthia Veenstra _, Gizeh Pérez-Tenorio, Anna Stelling, Elin Karlsson, Sanam Mirwani Mirwani, Bo Nordensköljd, Tommy Fornander and Olle Stål

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:37145-37159. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9268

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Cynthia Veenstra1, Gizeh Pérez-Tenorio1, Anna Stelling1, Elin Karlsson1, Sanam Mirwani Mirwani1, Bo Nordensköljd1, Tommy Fornander2, Olle Stål1

1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Department of Oncology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

2Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence to:

Cynthia Veenstra, email: [email protected]

Keywords: radiation, copy number variation, droplet digital PCR, triple-negative breast cancer, radiotherapy

Received: February 24, 2016     Accepted: April 26, 2016     Published: May 10, 2016


Few biomarkers exist to predict radiotherapy response in breast cancer. In vitro studies suggest a role for Met and its ligand HGF. To study this suggested role, MET and HGF gene copy numbers were determined by droplet digital PCR in tumours from 205 pre-menopausal and 184 post-menopausal patients, both cohorts randomised to receive either chemo- or radiotherapy. MET amplification was found in 8% of the patients in both cohorts and HGF amplification in 7% and 6% of the patients in the pre- and post-menopausal cohort, respectively. Met, phosphorylated Met (pMet), and HGF protein expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in the pre-menopausal cohort. Met, pMet, and HGF was expressed in 33%, 53%, and 49% of the tumours, respectively. MET amplification was associated with increased risk of distant recurrence for patients receiving chemotherapy. For the pre-menopausal patients, expression of cytoplasmic pMet and HGF significantly predicted benefit from radiotherapy in terms of loco-regional recurrence. Similar trends were seen for MET and HGF copy gain. In the post-menopausal cohort, no significant association of benefit from radiotherapy with neither genes nor proteins was found. The present results do not support that inhibition of Met prior to radiotherapy would be favourable for pre-menopausal breast cancer, as previously suggested.

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