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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Dec 15;14(24):8228-35. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-1329.

The incidence, correlation with tumor-infiltrating inflammation, and prognosis of phosphorylated STAT3 expression in human gliomas.

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Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



The signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is frequently overexpressed in most cancers, propagates tumorigenesis, and is a key regulator of immune suppression in cancer patients. We sought to determine the incidence of phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3) expression in malignant gliomas of different pathologic types, whether p-STAT3 expression is a negative prognostic factor, and whether p-STAT3 expression influences the inflammatory response within gliomas.


Using immunohistochemical analysis, we measured the incidence of p-STAT3 expression in 129 patients with gliomas of various pathologic types in a glioma tissue microarray. We categorized our results according to the total number of p-STAT3-expressing cells within the gliomas and correlated this number with the number of infiltrating T cells and T regulatory cells. We then evaluated the association between p-STAT3 expression and median survival time using univariate and multivariate analyses.


We did not detect p-STAT3 expression in normal brain tissues or low-grade astrocytomas. We observed significant differences in the incidence of p-STAT3 expression between the different grades of astrocytomas and different pathologic glioma types. p-STAT3 expression was associated with the population of tumor-infiltrating immune cells but not with that of T regulatory cells. On univariate analysis, we found that p-STAT3 expression within anaplastic astrocytomas was a negative prognostic factor.


p-STAT3 expression is common within gliomas of both the astrocytic and oligodendroglial lineages and portends poor survival in patients with anaplastic astrocytomas. p-STAT3 expression differs significantly between gliomas of different pathologic types and grades and correlated with the degree of immune infiltration.

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