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J Surg Oncol. 2012 Sep 15;106(4):393-8. doi: 10.1002/jso.23113. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

The chemokine receptor CXCR4 as a novel independent prognostic marker for node-positive breast cancer patients.

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Department of Surgery and Division of Surgical Oncology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana 71130, USA.



Node-positive breast cancer patients are a high-risk group. However, not all such patients will succumb to the disease. The molecular basis for this biologic heterogeneity is poorly understood. The chemokine receptor CXCR4 is a marker of metastatic disease. Its prognostic role in node-positive patients is unknown. We postulate that high CXCR4 overexpression in node-positive breast cancer specimens predicts a poor outcome.


185 node-positive breast cancer patients were evaluated. All had standardized treatment and surveillance protocols. CXCR4 levels were detected with Western blots. Results were quantified against 1 µg of HeLa cells. CXCR4 expression was defined as high (≥ 7.5-fold) or low (<7.5-fold). Primary endpoints were cancer recurrence and death. Statistical analyses were Kaplan-Meier curves, log-rank test, and Cox proportional hazard model, with a P-value of ≤ 0.05 as significant.


The mean follow-up time was 54 months; 148 patients (80%) had low CXCR4 and 37 patients (20%) had high CXCR4 level. The 5-year overall survival (OS) for the low and high CXCR4 group was 69% and 57%, respectively (P=0.02). The 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) for the low and high CXCR4 group was 62% and 53%, respectively (P=0.08). On multivariate analysis, T stage (P=0.001) and grade (P=0.04) were independent predictors of DFS, while T stage (P=0.005), grade (P=0.024), and CXCR4 level (P=0.01) were independent predictors of OS.


High CXCR4 level in cancer specimens independently predicts a poor outcome for patients with node-positive breast cancer.

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