Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 8027–8036 | Cite as

Heat shock protein 27 and gross cystic disease fluid protein 15 play critical roles in molecular apocrine breast cancer

  • Xiaozhen Liu
  • Changyun Feng
  • Junjun Liu
  • Lin Zhao
  • Jian Liu
  • Wei Zhang
  • Ning Liu
  • Yun Niu
Original Article


Molecular apocrine breast cancer (MABC) has a distinct hormonal profile, being estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) negative but androgen receptor (AR) positive. The clinical significance of MABC and its relative variables have not been absolutely clarified and remain to be determined. Five hundred cases of invasive breast carcinoma were randomly selected in this study, including 158 MABC cases and 342 nonMABC cases. Expression of ER, PR, epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), Ki67, AR, gross cystic disease fluid protein 15 (GCDFP15), and heat shock protein 27 (HSP27) were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Differences of continuous variables between MABC and nonMABC subgroups were evaluated by the chi-square test. The Kaplan–Meier method was performed to evaluate disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). The MABC subgroup had higher histological grade, bigger tumor size, more lymph node metastasis, and higher pTNM stage than the nonMABC subgroup (P < 0.05), and patients with MABC had poorer prognosis than those of the nonMABC subgroup (P < 0.05). Both GCDFP15 and HSP27 were expressed differently in the MABC and nonMABC subgroups (P < 0.05). Furthermore, in the MABC subgroup, positive HSP27 expression indicated higher risk of recurrence (P < 0.05) and positive GCDFP15 expression was also a poor marker for patient outcome (P < 0.05). MABC patients with HSP27 and GCDFP15 co-expression had worse outcome (P < 0.05). Our data suggested that MABC had a high risk of recurrence. Positive expression of both GCDFP15 and HSP27 were correlated with MABC malignancy. Targeting AR and HSP27 at the same time might offer a useful strategy to MABC.


Androgen receptor Breast cancer Gross cystic disease fluid protein 15 Heat shock protein 27 Molecular apocrine subgroup 



This work was financially supported by the National Science Foundation of China (81172532, 81470119). The authors gratefully acknowledge Mrs. Xiumin Ding and Ying Wang for the technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study protocol was approved by the Hospital Human Ethical Committee. Informed consent was obtained from all patients before their surgery and the examination of the specimens.

Conflicts of interest


Supplementary material

13277_2015_4712_MOESM1_ESM.doc (32 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 32 kb)
13277_2015_4712_Fig3_ESM.gif (16 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1

AR, HSP27 and GCDFP15 expression in MABC and nonMABC patients and controls at mRNA level. Setting the relative mRNA expression of AR, HSP27 and GCDFP15 in nonMABC case as 1, the relative mRNA expression of these three genes in 4 MABC cases (M1, M2, M4 and M5) were all higher than nonMABC case, and the relative mRNA expression of HSP27 and GCDFP15 in M3 case was higher than those in nonMABC case. (GIF 16 kb)

13277_2015_4712_MOESM2_ESM.tif (49 kb)
High resolution image (TIF 48 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaozhen Liu
    • 1
  • Changyun Feng
    • 2
  • Junjun Liu
    • 1
  • Lin Zhao
    • 1
  • Jian Liu
    • 1
  • Wei Zhang
    • 1
  • Ning Liu
    • 3
  • Yun Niu
    • 1
  1. 1.Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Therapy of Tianjin, Key Laboratory of Breast Cancer Prevention and TherapyTianjin Medical University, Ministry of EducationTianjinChina
  2. 2.Department of Maternal and Child Health HospitalNorth China University of Science and TechnologyTangshanChina
  3. 3.Department of PathologyBaodi Clinical Institute of Tianjin Medical UniversityTianjinChina

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