Long non-coding RNA HOTAIR is an independent prognostic marker of metastasis in estrogen receptor-positive primary breast cancer
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- Sørensen, K.P., Thomassen, M., Tan, Q. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2013) 142: 529. doi:10.1007/s10549-013-2776-7
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Expression of HOX transcript antisense intergenic RNA (HOTAIR)—a long non-coding RNA—has been examined in a variety of human cancers, and overexpression of HOTAIR is correlated with poor survival among breast, colon, and liver cancer patients. In this retrospective study, we examine HOTAIR expression in 164 primary breast tumors, from patients who do not receive adjuvant treatment, in a design that is paired with respect to the traditional prognostic markers. We show that HOTAIR expression differs between patients with or without a metastatic endpoint, respectively. Survival analysis shows that high HOTAIR expression in primary tumors is significantly associated with worse prognosis independent of prognostic markers (P = 0.012, hazard ratio (HR) 1.747). This association is even stronger when looking only at estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumor samples (P = 0.0086, HR 1.985). In ER-negative tumor samples, we are not able to detect a prognostic value of HOTAIR expression, probably due to the limited sample size. These results are successfully validated in an independent dataset with similar associations (P = 0.018, HR 1.825). In conclusion, our findings suggest that HOTAIR expression may serve as an independent biomarker for the prediction of the risk of metastasis in ER-positive breast cancer patients.