Prolactin receptor is a negative prognostic factor in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

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Published on Friday, 05 October 2018

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The influence of human prolactin (hPRL) on the development of breast and other types of cancer is well established. Little information, however, exists on the effects of hPRL on squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (SCCHNs).

METHODS: In this study, we evaluated prolactin receptor (PRLR) expression in SCCHN cell lines and assessed by immunohistochemistry the expression in 89 patients with SCCHNs. The PRLR expression was correlated with clinicopathological characteristics as well as clinical outcome. The effect of hPRL treatment on tumour cell growth was evaluated in vitro.

RESULTS: Immunoreactivity for PRLR was observed in 85 out of 89 (95%) tumours. Multivariate COX regression analysis confirmed high levels of PRLR expression (>25% of tumour cells) to be an independent prognostic factor with respect to overall survival (HR=3.70, 95% CI: 1.14-12.01; P=0.029) and disease-free survival (P=0.017). Growth of PRLR-positive cancer cells increased in response to hPRL treatment.

CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that hPRL is an important growth factor for SCCHN. Because of PRLR expression in a vast majority of tumour specimens and its negative impact on overall survival, the receptor represents a novel prognosticator and a promising drug target for patients with SCCHNs.

 

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