Steroid sulfatase expression is an independent predictor of recurrence in human breast cancer

Toshiaki Utsumi, Noriko Yoshimura, Shinji Takeuchi, Jiro Ando, Morito Maruta, Kotaro Maeda, Nobuhiro Harada

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129 Citations (Scopus)


Steroid sulfatase (STS) hydrolyzes several sulfated steroids such as estrone sulfate, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and cholesterol sulfate. In the present study, we have measured STS mRNA levels in 97 breast cancers by reverse transcription-PCR using a fluorescent primer in the presence of an internal standard RNA and evaluated its association with disease-free and overall survival. The median value was 728.0 amol/ng RNA (range, 0-11,778 amol/ng RNA). Levels were significantly higher in tumors demonstrating lymph node metastasis than in those without nodal involvement (P = 0.033) and in patients who experienced a recurrence during the follow-up period (mean, 40.8 months; median, 39 months) compared with those with no evidence of further disease (mean, 49.2 months; median, 48 months; P = 0.029). No significant associations were found between STS mRNA expression and age, menopausal status, tumor size, histological grade, estrogen receptor status, or postoperative adjuvant therapy. High levels of STS mRNA proved to be a significant predictor of reduced relapse-free survival as a continuous variable (log STS mRNA; P = 0.028). As a dichotomous variable with an optimized cutoff point of 1,240 amol/ng RNA, expression was also associated with a significantly shorter relapse-free survival rate (P = 0.002), but no significant correlation was found between the STS mRNA level and overall survival. Expression was found to be an independent factor for predicting relapse-free survival on multivariate analysis. The results thus support a putative role of STS in breast cancer growth and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-381
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16-01-1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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