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Br J Cancer. 2006 Apr 10;94(7):1057-65.

Significance of the metastasis-inducing protein AGR2 for outcome in hormonally treated breast cancer patients.

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Clatterbridge Cancer Research Trust, JK Douglas Laboratories, Clatterbridge Hospital, Wirral CH63 4JY, UK.


The anterior gradient protein-2 (AGR2) is inducible by oestrogen and itself can induce metastasis in a rat model for breast cancer. Here, a rabbit antibody to recombinant human AGR2 was used to assess its prognostic significance in a retrospective cohort of 351 breast cancer patients treated by adjuvant hormonal therapy. The antibody stains 66% of breast carcinomas to varying degrees. The percentage of positive carcinoma cells in tumours directly correlates with the level of AGR2 mRNA (Spearman's rank correlation, P = 0.0007) and protein (linear regression analysis r2 = 0.95, P = 0.0002). There is a significant association of staining of carcinomas for AGR2 with oestrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) staining and with low histological grade (both Fisher's Exact test P<0.0001). In the ERalpha-positive cases, but not the ERalpha-negative cases, when subdivided into the separate staining classes for AGR2, there is a significantly progressive decrease in patient survival with increased staining (log rank test, P = 0.006). The significant association of staining for AGR2 with patient death over a 10-year period (log rank test P = 0.007, hazard ratio = 3) only becomes significant at 6 years of follow-up. This may be due to the cessation of adjuvant hormonal therapy at an earlier time, resulting in adverse re-expression of the metastasis-inducing protein AGR2.

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