STAT3 Inhibition for Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors: Potential for a New Therapeutic Target?


Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, 1365C Clifton Road NE, 2nd Floor, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA. [Email]


BACKGROUND : Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) are highly vascular neoplasms treated similarly, irrespective of tumor location. The expression of pro-angiogenic factors (STAT3, VEGF, and HIF-1α) and their association with adverse pathologic factors and disease recurrence following resection remains unclear.
METHODS : All patients with non-metastatic GEP-NETs who underwent curative-intent resection from 2000 to 2013 were included. Immunohistochemistry was performed for pro-angiogenic factors, Ki-67 index, and CD31 using tissue microarrays made in triplicate by a pathologist blinded to other clinicopathologic variables. Primary outcome was a 3-year recurrence-free survival (3-yrRFS); secondary outcomes were correlation of pro-angiogenic factors with Ki-67 index, adverse pathologic factors, and CD31 expression, a marker of microvascular density.
RESULTS : Of 144 GEP-NETs resected, STAT3 expression was high in 12 (8%) and low in 132 (92%) pts. High STAT3 expression was associated with worse 3-yrRFS compared to low expression (55% vs 84%; p = 0.003). High VEGF expression had a 3-yrRFS of 76% vs 82% for low expression (p = 0.09). HIF-1α expression was not associated with RFS. Ki-67 ≥ 3% was associated with worse 3-yrRFS (≥ 3%: 51% vs < 3%: 84%; p < 0.001), as was the presence of increased microvascular density (CD31 > median: 75% vs CD31 < median: 86%; p = 0.04). High STAT3 expressing tumors were more likely to have a Ki-67 ≥ 3% (42% vs 7%; p < 0.001). LVI was present in 82% of high STAT3 tumors compared to only 50% with low STAT3 (p = 0.058). CD31 expression was similar between groups (58% vs 49%; p = 0.5).
CONCLUSIONS : In resected GEP-NETs, high STAT3 expression is associated with an increased Ki-67 index, presence of lymphovascular invasion and worse 3-yr RFS. STAT3 may be a novel therapeutic target for patients undergoing resection of high-risk tumors.


CD31,Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors,Ki-67,STAT3,

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