Background: Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins comprise a protein family, which has initially been described as STAT induced inhibitors of the Jak/Stat pathway. Recent in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that SOCS proteins are also implicated in cancer. The STAT5 induced IGF-I acts as an endocrine and para/autocrine growth and differentiation factor in mammary gland development. Whereas high levels of circulating IGF-I have been associated with increased cancer risk, the role of autocrine acting IGF-I is less clear. The present study is aimed to elucidate the clinicopathological features associated with SOCS1, SOCS2, SOCS3, CIS and IGF-I expression in breast cancer. Methods: We determined the mRNA expression levels of SOCS1, SOCS2, SOCS3, CIS and IGF-I in 89 primary breast cancers by reverse transcriptase PCR. SOCS2 protein expression was further evaluated by immuno-blot and immunohistochemistry. Results: SOCS2 expression inversely correlated with histopathological grade and ER positive tumors exhibited higher SOCS2 levels. Patients with high SOCS2 expression lived significantly longer (108.7 vs. 77.7 months; P = 0.015) and high SOCS2 expression proved to be an independent predictor for good prognosis (HR = 0.45, 95% CI 0.23 - 0.91, P = 0.026). In analogy to SOCS2, high IGF-I expression was an independent predictor for good prognosis in the entire patient cohort. In the subgroup of patients with lymph-node negative disease, high IGF-I was a strong predictor for favorable outcome in terms of overall survival and relapse free survival (HR = 0.075, 95% CI 0.014 - 0.388, P = 0.002). Conclusion: This is the first report on the favorable prognostic value of high SOCS2 expression in primary mammary carcinomas. Furthermore a strong association of high IGF-I expression levels with good prognosis was observed especially in lymph-node negative patients. Our results suggest that high expression of the STAT5 target genes SOCS2 and IGF-I is a feature of differentiated and less malignant tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research