Human kallikrein gene 5 (KLK5) expression by quantitative PCR: An independent indicator of poor prognosis in breast cancer

George M. Yousef, Andreas Scorilas, Lianna G. Kyriakopoulou, Laura Rendl, Maria Diamandis, Riccardo Ponzone, Nicoletta Biglia, Maurizia Giai, Riccardo Roagna, Piero Sismondi, Eleftherios P. Diamandis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: KLK5 is a newly discovered human kallikrein gene. Many kallikrein genes have been found to be differentially expressed in Various malignancies, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA; encoded by the KLK3 gene) is the best tumor marker for prostate cancer. Like the genes that encode PSA and other kallikreins, the KLK5 gene was found to be regulated by steroid hormones in the BT-474 breast cancer cell line. Methods: We studied KLK5 expression in 179 patients with different stages and grades of epithelial breast carcinoma by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), using LightCycler® technology. An optimal cutoff point equal to the detection limit (65th percentile) was used. KLK5 values were then compared with other established prognostic factors in terms of disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Results: High KLK5 expression was found more frequently in pre-/perimenopausal (P = 0.026), node-positive (P = 0.029), and estrogen receptor-negative (P = 0.038) patients. In univariate analysis, KLK5 overexpression was a significant predictor of reduced DFS (P 2 cm) and positive nodes. Hazard ratios derived from Cox analysis and related to DFS and OS were 2.48 (P = 0.005) and 2.37 (P = 0.009), respectively, for the node-positive group and 3.03 (P = 0.002) and 2.94 (P = 0.002), respectively, for patients with tumor sizes >2 cm. KLK5 expression was also associated with statistically significantly Shorter DFS (P = 0.006) and OS (P = 0.004) in the subgroup of patients with grade I and II tumors. Conclusions: KLK5 expression as assessed by quantitative RT-PCR is an independent and unfavorable prognostic marker for breast carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1250
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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