Endocan as a prognostic biomarker of triple-negative breast cancer

Atsunobu Sagara, Katsuhide Igarashi, Maky Otsuka, Akihiro Kodama, Mutsumi Yamashita, Rei Sugiura, Takeshi Karasawa, Kazuhiko Arakawa, Michiko Narita, Naoko Kuzumaki, Minoru Narita, Yoshinori Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has aggressive characteristics and fewer treatment options than other subtypes. The purpose of this study was to explore prognostic biomarkers for TNBC that can be easily detected from the blood samples. Methods: MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-231BR, a brain metastatic variant of the human TNBC cell line MDA-MB-231, were used as less and more aggressive models of TNBC, respectively. The extent to which the candidate gene/protein identified by RNA sequencing correlated well with aggressiveness of TNBC and how much protein was detected from the blood of tumor-bearing mice were evaluated. Results: Both the in vitro proliferation and in vivo tumor growth of MDA-MB-231BR were more rapid than those of MDA-MB-231. RNA sequencing identified ESM1 as a gene that was expressed significantly more in MDA-MB-231BR than in MDA-MB-231, and qRT-PCR confirmed a significantly higher expression of ESM1 in MDA-MB-231BR xenograft in vivo. Furthermore, Kaplan–Meier analysis of relapse-free survival demonstrated that TNBC patients with high ESM1 expression had clearly worse relapse-free survival than those with low ESM1 expression, which was consistent with our preclinical findings. Endocan, a protein of ESM1 gene product, was successfully detected in both conditioned medium from MDA-MB-231BR and plasma samples from mice bearing MDA-MB-231BR xenograft, which showed a significantly distinct pattern from less aggressive MDA-MB-231. Moreover, bisulfite sequence analysis revealed that overexpression of ESM1 in MDA-MB-231BR might be attributed to DNA demethylation in an upstream region of the ESM1 gene. Conclusion: This study indicates that endocan could be used as a blood-based prognostic biomarker in TNBC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-278
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Endocan
  • ESM-1
  • MDA-MB-231
  • MDA-MB-231BR
  • Prognostic biomarker
  • Triple-negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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