Expression of RET is associated with Oestrogen receptor expression but lacks prognostic significance in breast cancer.


Department of Surgery, University Hospital Basel, Spitalstrasse 21, 4031, Basel, Switzerland. [Email]


BACKGROUND : The Rearranged during Transfection (RET) protein is overexpressed in a subset of Estrogen Receptor (ER) positive breast cancer, with both signalling pathways functionally interacting. This cross-talk plays a pivotal role in the resistance of breast cancer cells to anti-endocrine therapies, and RET expression is assumed to correlate with poor prognosis based on findings in small patient cohorts. The aim of our study was to investigate the impact of RET expression on patient outcome in human breast cancer.
METHODS : We performed an immunohistochemical analysis of RET protein expression on a tissue microarray encompassing 990 breast cancer patients and correlated its expression with clinicopathological parameters and survival data.
RESULTS : Expression of RET was detected in 409 out of 990 cases (41.3%). RET and ER expression significantly correlated (p < 0.0001). The Luminal B HER2-positive subtype showed the highest expression rate (48.9%). In univariate and multivariate survival analyses, RET expression had no impact on overall survival.
CONCLUSIONS : We confirmed the co-expression of RET and ER, but we did not find RET expression to be an independent prognostic factor in human breast cancer. Clinical trials with newly developed RET inhibitors are needed to evaluate if RET inhibition has a beneficial impact on patient survival in ER positive breast cancer.


Breast cancer,Endocrine resistance,Oestrogen receptor,RET,Tissue microarray,

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