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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Nov;14(11 Pt 1):2517-23.

Coexpression of beta1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V glycoprotein substrates defines aggressive breast cancers with poor outcome.

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Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, 310 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8023, USA.


Beta1,6-n-acetylglucosaminyltransferase-V (GnT-V) catalyzes the addition of complex oligosaccharide side chains to glycoproteins, regulating the expression and function of several proteins involved in tumor metastasis. We analyzed the expression of five cell-surface glycoprotein substrates of GnT-V, matriptase, beta1-integrin, epidermal growth factor receptor, lamp-1, and N-cadherin, on a tissue microarray cohort of 670 breast carcinomas with 30-year follow-up. Phaseolus vulgaris leukocytic phytohemagglutinin (LPHA), a lectin specific for beta1,6-branched oligosaccharides, was used to assay GnT-V activity. Our results show a high degree of correlation of the LPHA staining with matriptase, lamp-1, and N-cadherin expressions, but not with epidermal growth factor receptor or beta1-integrin expressions. In addition, many of the GnT-V substrate proteins exhibited strong coassociations. Elevated levels of GnT-V substrates were correlated with various markers of tumor progression, including positive node status, large tumor size, estrogen receptor negativity, HER2/neu overexpression, and high nuclear grade. Furthermore, LPHA and matriptase showed significant association with disease-related survival. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of the GnT-V substrate protein expression and LPHA revealed two distinct clusters: one with higher expression of all markers and poor patient outcome and one with lower expression and good outcome. These clusters showed independent prognostic value for disease-related survival when compared with traditional markers of tumor progression. Our results indicate that GnT-V substrate proteins represent a unique subset of coexpressed tumor markers associated with aggressive disease.

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