Background: We evaluated five key proteins involved in various cancer-related pathways and assessed their relation to breast cancer recurrence. Methods: We used the Kentucky Cancer Registry to retrospectively identify primary invasive breast cancer cases (n = 475) that were diagnosed and treated at University of Kentucky Medical Center between 2000 and 2007. Breast cancer recurrence was observed in 62 cases during the 5-year follow-up after diagnosis. Protein expression or activity level was analyzed from surgery tissue using immuno-histochemical assays. Results: Compared to ER+/PR+/HER2− patients without recurrence, those with recurrence had higher TWIST expression (p = 0.049) but lower ABL1/ABL2 activity (p = 0.003) in primary tumors. We also found that triple-negative breast cancer patients with recurrence had higher SNAI1 expression compared to those without recurrence (p = 0.03). After adjusting for potential confounders, the higher ABL1/ABL2 activity in primary tumors was associated with a decreased risk of recurrence (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.85–0.90) among ER+/PR+/HER2− patients. In addition, among patients with recurrence we observed that the activity level of ABL1/ABL2 was significantly increased in recurrent tumors compared to the matched primary tumors regardless of the subtype (p = 0.013). Conclusions: These findings provide evidence that the expression/activity level of various proteins may be differentially associated with risk of recurrence of breast tumor subtypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Biomarkers
  • Breast cancer
  • Protein activity
  • Protein expression
  • Recurrence
  • Tumor subtypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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