The Ohio State researchers then collaborated with the Finnish group for the present study to learn if Wwox and its partner ErbB-4 together are associated with better survival in breast-cancer patients.
The investigators analyzed tiny disks of breast-cancer tissue from 556 patients for the Wwox protein. The same samples had been analyzed previously by the Finnish group for the presence of the ErbB4 protein.
About half of the tumors showed absent or reduced levels of the Wwox protein. The cases with the protein showed better survival compared with those without it, particularly in tumors that lacked hormone receptors.
For example, of patients whose tumors were missing estrogen receptors (i.e., ER-negative tumors) and who had Wwox, nearly 70 percent were alive after 10 years vs. about 55 percent of patients of ER-negative tumors who lacked Wwox.
Similarly, patients with tumors lacking both the progesterone hormone receptor (i.e., PR-negative tumors), and the HER2 receptor, and who also lacked Wwox, also had poorer survival.
The findings suggest that loss of Wwox is associated with an unfavorable outcome, particular in tumors that lack both hormone receptors and the HER2 receptor. These triple-negative breast cancers have no effective treatment and are particularly deadly. This study sheds light on the role of Wwox in these difficult breast cancers and may lead to new therapies for treating them, Aqeilan says.
Last, the researchers looked at tumors with and without Wwox and with ErbB-4 at the cell surface. Of the patients in this group with Wwox, more than 90 percent were alive after 10 years, vs. about 60 percent of those without Wwox.
Altogether, our findings suggest that the presence of Wwox probably holds ErbB-4 on the cell surface, and that this means a good prog
|Contact: Darrell E. Ward|
Ohio State University Medical Center