The sulfatase pathway has been thought to be a primary means of local production of estrone in human breast cancer tissue. We measured steroid sulfatase (STS) mRNA levels in 97 breast cancers and evaluated its association with disease-free survival. High levels of STS mRNA proved to be a significant predictor of reduced relapse-free survival, both as a continuous variable (log STS mRNA; P = 0.028) and as a dichotomous variable with an optimized cutoff point (P = 0.002). In multivariate analysis a high level of STS mRNA was an independent factor for predicting relapse-free survival. These results suggest a putative role of STS in breast cancer growth and metastasis, and administration of sulfatase inhibitors to breast cancer patients with high levels of STS mRNA might be an additional treatment option.
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