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Title: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression predicts adverse pathological & clinical outcomes in human breast cancer
Authors: Patani, N
Jiang, WG
Mokbel, K
Keywords: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF);Breast cancer;Human malignancies
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: Cancer Cell International, 11:23, 2011
Abstract: Introduction: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has established physiological roles in the development and function of the vertebrate nervous system. BDNF has also been implicated in several human malignancies, including breast cancer (BC). However, the precise biological role of BDNF and its utility as a novel biomarker have yet to be determined. The objective of this study was to determine the mRNA and protein expression of BDNF in a cohort of women with BC. Expression levels were compared with normal background tissues and evaluated against established pathological parameters and clinical outcome over a 10 year follow-up period. Methods: BC tissues (n = 127) and normal tissues (n = 33) underwent RNA extraction and reverse transcription, BDNF transcript levels were determined using real-time quantitative PCR. BDNF protein expression in mammary tissues was assessed with standard immuno-histochemical methodology. Expression levels were analyzed against tumour size, grade, nodal involvement, TNM stage, Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI) and clinical outcome over a 10 year follow-up period. Results: Immuno-histochemical staining revealed substantially greater BDNF expression within neoplastic cells, compared to normal mammary epithelial cells. Significantly higher mRNA transcript levels were found in the BC specimens compared to background tissues (p = 0.007). The expression of BDNF mRNA was demonstrated to increase with increasing NPI; NPI-1 vs. NPI-2 (p = 0.009). Increased BDNF transcript levels were found to be significantly associated with nodal positivity (p = 0.047). Compared to patients who remained disease free, higher BDNF expression was significantly associated with local recurrence (LR) (p = 0.0014), death from BC (p = 0.018) and poor prognosis overall (p = 0.013). After a median follow up of 10 years, higher BDNF expression levels were significantly associated with reduced overall survival (OS) (106 vs. 136 months, p = 0.006). BDNF emerged as an independent prognostic variable in multivariate analysis for disease free survival (DFS) (p = 0.026) and approached significance for OS (p = 0.055). Conclusion: BDNF expression was found to be significantly higher in BC specimens compared to normal tissue. Higher transcript levels were significantly associated with unfavourable pathological parameters including nodal positivity and increasing NPI; and adverse clinical outcomes including LR, death from BC, poor prognosis, reduced DFS and OS. BDNF offers utility as a prognostic marker and potential for targeted therapeutic strategies.
Description: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
ISSN: 1475-2867
Appears in Collections:Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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