Breast Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 447–455 | Cite as

OCT4 but not SOX2 expression correlates with worse prognosis in surgical patients with triple-negative breast cancer

  • Jia-Ming Zhang
  • Kai Wei
  • Ming Jiang
Original Article



Octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4) and SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 2 (SOX2) are common biomarkers of cancer stem cells, which contribute to the pathological processes of several carcinomas, while little is known about the effects of OCT4 and SOX2 on the prognosis of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The purpose was to evaluate the correlation of tumor tissue OCT4 and SOX2 expressions with clinicopathological features and overall survival (OS) in surgical TNBC patients.


127 surgical patients with TNBC were enrolled in this cohort study. Tumor tissue samples were obtained during the operation. OCT4 and SOX2 expressions were assessed by immunofluorescent staining.


32 (25%) TNBC patients with OCT4 positive expression (OCT4+), 21 (17%) patients with SOX2 positive expression (SOX2+), and 11 (9%) patients with both OCT4+ and SOX2+ were observed. OCT4 expression was positively associated with histologic grade (P < 0.001), pathological tumor size (P = 0.014), N stage (P < 0.001) and TNM stage (P < 0.001), while SOX2 expression was positively correlated with histologic grade (P < 0.001), pathological tumor size (P = 0.033) and Ki-67 expression (P = 0.016). Kaplan–Meier (K–M) curves suggested OCT4+ was correlated with shorter OS compared with OCT4 (P < 0.001), while no correlation between SOX2+ with OS in all patients (P = 0.128) was observed. Multivariate Cox model indicated that OCT4+ (P < 0.001) were independent factors for worse OS.


Tumor tissue OCT4 but not SOX2 expression was positively correlated with histologic grade, pathological tumor size, N stage and TNM stage, and it could be served as an independent biomarker to predict worse prognosis in surgical patients with TNBC.


Tumor tissue OCT4 SOX2 Prognosis Triple-negative breast cancer 



No funding received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional ethics committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

12282_2018_844_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 11 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Breast Cancer Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Thyroid Breast Surgery, The Central Hospital of Wuhan, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, The Central Hospital of Wuhan, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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