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Effect of CD44st and HER2 expression on the postoperative prognosis of breast cancer patients

Authors Chen DD, Ji JA, Yan HC, Huang GH, Fang XJ

Received 20 July 2018

Accepted for publication 3 November 2018

Published 15 January 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 577—585


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Jianmin Xu

Dan Dan Chen,1 Jun An Ji,2 Hai Cui Yan,1 Guan Hong Huang,1 Xin Jian Fang1

1Department of Oncology, The Second People’s Hospital of Lianyungang (Lianyungang Hospital affiliated to Bengbu Medical College), Lianyungang, Jiangsu 222000, China; 2Department of Medical Oncology, The Gan Yu District Hospital of Lianyungang, Lianyungang, Jiangsu 222000, China

Objective: CD44st is a member of the CD44 family; abnormal expression of some CD44 isoforms are closely associated with axillary lymph node metastasis, cancer progression, and patients’ prognosis. The objective of this study is to investigate the correlation between the expression of CD44st and HER2 in breast cancer and the effect on patients’ prognosis.
Methods: Primers were designed to target the CD44st mRNA (Gene Bank No FJ216964) which has been newly identified in a drug-resistant breast cancer cell line. The expression of CD44st and HER2 mRNA and proteins in cancerous and paracancerous tissue of postoperative breast cancer patients was detected and compared. Tissue samples were obtained from 102 cases of invasive ductal carcinoma, 19 cases of intraductal carcinoma, and 11 cases of medullary carcinoma. The correlation between CD44st and HER2 expression and clinical pathological features was examined.
Results: The expression rate of CD44st mRNA and protein in breast cancer tissue was 64.4% (85/132), while HER2 mRNA and protein was expressed in 22.0% (29/106) of the samples. The expression of CD44st and HER2 were low in paracancerous tissue. In breast cancer tissue, the expression rate of HER2 mRNA and protein in the CD44st-positive group was 28.2% (24/85), and 10.6% (5/47) in the CD44st-negative group. This difference was statistically significant (P=0.015). Sequencing analysis showed that the amplified CD44st gene in this study was the same as that which was previously discovered in the drug-resistant breast cancer cell line. A linear correlation was found between the expression of CD44st and HER2 (r=0.972, r2=0.945, F=2,213.51, P<0.001). The expression of CD44st and HER2 was also closely associated with luminal cancer subtypes, lymph node metastasis, and TNM stage (P<0.05), but not associated with age, pathological type, or tumor size (P>0.05). The median overall survival in the CD44st high-expression group was 51.85 months (95% CI: 48.48–55.22), which was significantly shorter than that in the CD44st low-expression group (57.61 months; 95% CI: 55.54–59.68, P=0.032).
Conclusion: CD44st is closely related to the expression of HER2. The expression of CD44st affects patient prognosis and is associated with lymph node metastasis, TNM staging, and molecular subtyping.

Keywords: CD44st, HER2, invasion, breast cancer, metastasis, prognosis

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