Background: The lysosomal enzyme α-L-Fucosidase-1 (FUCA-1) catalyzes the hydrolytic cleavage of terminal fucose residues. FUCA-1 gene is down-regulated in highly aggressive and metastatic human tumors as its inactivation perturbs the fucosylation of proteins involved in cell adhesion, migration and metastases.
Results: Negativity to FUCA-1 was significantly related to the development of later recurrences in breast cancer patients with lymph node involvement at diagnosis. Cancer specific survival of luminal B LN+ patients was influenced by FUCA-1 expression as luminal B LN+ patients with positive expression had a longer cancer specific survival. FUCA-1 mRNA expression was inversely related to cancer stage and lymph node involvement. WB and qPCR analysis of FUCA-1 expression in breast cancer-derived cell lines confirmed an inverse relationship with tumor aggressiveness.
Conclusions: This study shows that, within LN+ breast cancer patients, FUCA-1 is able to identify a sub-set of non recurrent patients characterized by the positive expression of FUCA-1 and that, within luminal B LN+ patients, the expression of FUCA-1 predicts longer cancer specific survival.
Methods: We have analyzed FUCA-1 in 305 breast cancer patients by Immunohistochemistry (IHC), and by qPCR in breast cancer patients and in breast cancer cell lines.