RANK and RANKL Expression in Tumors of Patients with Early Breast Cancer

Behrens A, Wurmthaler L, Heindl F, Gaß P, Häberle L, Volz B, Hack C, Emons J, Erber R, Hartmann A, Beckmann M, Rübner M, Dougall WC, Press MF, Fasching P, Hübner H (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


DOI: 10.1055/a-2192-2998


Introduction The receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (RANK) pathway was associated with the pathogenesis of breast cancer. Several studies attempted to link the RANK/RANKL pathway to prognosis; however, with inconsistent outcomes. We aimed to further contribute to the knowledge about RANK/RANKL as prognostic factors in breast cancer. Within this study, protein expression of RANK and its ligand, RANKL, in the tumor tissue was analyzed in association with disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in a study cohort of patients with early breast cancer. Patients and Methods 607 samples of female primary and early breast cancer patients from the Bavarian Breast Cancer Cases and Controls Study were analyzed to correlate the RANK and RANKL expression with DFS and OS. Therefore, expression was quantified using immunohistochemical staining of a tissue microarray. H-scores were determined with the cut-off value of 8.5 for RANK and 0 for RANKL expression, respectively. Results RANK and RANKL immunohistochemistry were assessed by H-score. Both biomarkers did not correlate (ρ = -0.04). According to molecular subtypes, triple-negative tumors and HER2-positive tumors showed a higher number of RANK-positive tumors (H-score ≥ 8.5), however, no subtype-specific expression of RANKL could be detected. Higher RANKL expression tended to correlate with a better prognosis. However, RANK and RANKL expression could not be identified as statistically significant prognostic factors within the study cohort. Conclusions Tumor-specific RANK and RANKL expressions are not applicable as prognostic factors for DFS and OS, but might be associated with subtype-specific breast cancer progression.

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Behrens, A., Wurmthaler, L., Heindl, F., Gaß, P., Häberle, L., Volz, B.,... Hübner, H. (2023). RANK and RANKL Expression in Tumors of Patients with Early Breast Cancer. Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-2192-2998


Behrens, Annika, et al. "RANK and RANKL Expression in Tumors of Patients with Early Breast Cancer." Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde (2023).

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