Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27656. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027656. Epub 2011 Nov 16.

Down-regulation of ECRG4, a candidate tumor suppressor gene, in human breast cancer.

Author information

  • 1Département d'Oncologie Moléculaire, Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Marseille, UMR891 INSERM and Institut Paoli-Calmettes Marseille, Marseille, France.



ECRG4/C2ORF40 is a potential tumor suppressor gene (TSG) recently identified in esophageal carcinoma. Its expression, gene copy number and prognostic value have never been explored in breast cancer.


Using DNA microarray and array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), we examined ECRG4 mRNA expression and copy number alterations in 353 invasive breast cancer samples and normal breast (NB) samples. A meta-analysis was done on a large public retrospective gene expression dataset (n = 1,387) in search of correlations between ECRG4 expression and histo-clinical features including survival.


ECRG4 was underexpressed in 94.3% of cancers when compared to NB. aCGH data revealed ECRG4 loss in 18% of tumors, suggesting that DNA loss is not the main mechanism of underexpression. Meta-analysis showed that ECRG4 expression was significantly higher in tumors displaying earlier stage, smaller size, negative axillary lymph node status, lower grade, and normal-like subtype. Higher expression was also associated with disease-free survival (DFS; HR = 0.84 [0.76-0.92], p = 0.0002) and overall survival (OS; HR = 0.72 [0.63-0.83], p = 5.0E-06). In multivariate analysis including the other histo-clinical prognostic features, ECRG4 expression remained the only prognostic factor for DFS and OS.


Our data suggest that ECRG4 is a candidate TSG in breast cancer, the expression of which may help improve the prognostication. If functional analyses confirm this TSG role, restoring ECRG4 expression in the tumor may represent a promising therapeutic approach.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk