GD2 expression in breast cancer

Giulia Orsi, Monica Barbolini, Guido Ficarra, Giovanni Tazzioli, Paola Manni, Tiziana Petrachi, Ilenia Mastrolia, Enrico Orvieto, Carlotta Spano, Malvina Prapa, Shaniko Kaleci, Roberto D'Amico, Valentina Guarneri, Maria Vittoria Dieci, Stefano Cascinu, Pierfranco Conte, Federico Piacentini, Massimo Dominici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Breast cancer (BC) is a heterogeneous disease, including different subtypes having diverse incidence, drug-sensitivity and survival rates. In particular, claudinlow and basal-like BC have mesenchymal features with a dismal prognosis. Disialoganglioside GD2 is a typical neuroectodermal antigen expressed in a variety of cancers. Despite its potential relevance in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, the presence and role of GD2 require further investigation, especially in BC. Therefore, we evaluated GD2 expression in a cohort of BC patients and its correlation with clinicalpathological features. Sixty-three patients with BC who underwent surgery without prior chemo- and/or radiotherapy between 2001 and 2014 were considered. Cancer specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and GD2-staining was expressed according to the percentage of positive cells and by a semi-quantitative scoring system. Patient characteristics were heterogeneous by age at diagnosis, histotype, grading, tumor size, Ki-67 and receptor-status. GD2 staining revealed positive cancer cells in 59% of patients. Among them, 26 cases (41%) were labeled with score 1+ and 11 (18%) with score 2+. Notably, the majority of metaplastic carcinoma specimens stained positive for GD2. The univariate regression logistic analysis revealed a significant association of GD2 with triple-receptor negative phenotype and older age (> 78) at diagnosis. We demonstrate for the first time that GD2 is highly prevalent in a cohort of BC patients clustering on very aggressive BC subtypes, such as triple-negative and metaplastic variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31592-31600
Number of pages9
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Mar 18 2017


  • BC
  • Disialoganglioside
  • GD2
  • Metaplastic
  • TNBC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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