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Am J Pathol. 2011 Mar;178(3):997-1008. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2010.11.075.

Association of FABP5 expression with poor survival in triple-negative breast cancer: implication for retinoic acid therapy.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute, School of Cancer, Engineering and Imaging Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Recent studies using animal models suggest that expression of FABP5 drives the stimulation of cell growth observed in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer cells on exposure to retinoic acid (RA). The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinicopathological significance of FABP5 in breast cancer and to evaluate FABP5 as a prognostic marker and a possible novel therapeutic target in breast cancer. Gene expression microarray analysis revealed a significant correlation between elevated FABP5 RNA levels and ER/progesterone receptor (PR)-negative status, high tumor grade, and poor prognosis. Tissue microarray analysis demonstrated similar correlations with cytoplasmic FABP5 protein. Based on multivariate proportional regression analysis, cytoplasmic FABP5 is a significant and independent prognostic marker of overall survival and recurrence-free survival in breast cancer. The effects of FABP5 on tumor growth appear to be mediated primarily through cytoplasmic FABP, because no correlation was found between nuclear FABP5 and ER/PR-negative status, recurrence, and survival. FABP5 knockdown in breast cancer cell lines demonstrates a correlation between FABP5 levels and growth response to RA. We propose a model whereby growth-promoting FABP5 competes with growth-inhibiting CRABP2 for RA, with retention of RA in the cytoplasm by FABP5 preventing the inhibition of tumor growth.

Copyright © 2011 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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