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Papers of the Week

2022 Aug 16

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis

Potential role of CXCR4 in trastuzumab resistance in breast cancer patients.


Kotb RM, Ibrahim SS, Mostafa OM, Shahin NN
Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2022 Aug 16:166520.
PMID: 35985446.


Despite the efficacy of trastuzumab in treating HER2-positive breast cancer patients, a significant proportion of patients relapse after treatment. The role of C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) in trastuzumab resistance was studied only in cell lines and the underlying mechanisms remain largely unclear. This study investigated the role of CXCR4 in trastuzumab resistance in breast cancer patients and explored the possible underlying mechanisms. The study was performed retrospectively on tissue samples from 62 breast cancer patients including 42 who were treated with trastuzumab and chemotherapy and 20 who received chemotherapy alone in adjuvant setting. Expression levels of CXCR4 and its regulators hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1α), tristetraprolin (TTP), human antigen R (HuR), itchy E3 ubiquitin protein ligase (ITCH), miR-302a and miR-494 were determined and their associations with tumor recurrence and disease-free survival were analyzed. In trastuzumab-treated patients, high CXCR4 expression was associated with recurrence and was an independent predictor of progression risk after therapy. CXCR4 correlated positively with its transcriptional regulator, HIF-1α, and negatively with its post-translational regulator, ITCH. HIF-1α, HuR and ITCH were significantly associated with clinical outcome. In chemotherapy-treated patients, neither CXCR4 nor any of its regulators were associated with recurrence or predicted disease progression risk after chemotherapy. In conclusion, this study suggests a potential role for CXCR4 in recurrence after trastuzumab-based therapy in human breast cancer that could be mediated, at least in part, by hypoxia and/or decreased ubiquitination. These findings highlight the potential utility of CXCR4 as a promising target for enhancing trastuzumab therapeutic outcome.