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OBJECTIVES - The tumor-suppressor breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) is a nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling protein that when in the nucleus is required for DNA repair whereas when in the cytoplasm is important in activating cell death processes. Although BRCA1 mutations have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), its role in disease progression is yet to be determined. We hypothesized that BRCA1 expression pattern could be used as a prognostic biomarker.
METHODS - Sixty-seven patients who underwent resections for PDAC were included. A tissue microarray was constructed, stained with antibodies to BRCA1, and scored for intensity and subcellular location. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were performed.
RESULTS - An increase in cytosolic BRCA1 distribution was associated with higher pathologic stage (P = 0.006). Nuclear-cytosolic BRCA1 distribution was associated with a decrease in recurrence-free survival with a hazards ratio of 1.4 (P = 0.059). Decreased BRCA1 intensity was associated with higher pathologic stage (P = 0.027), but BRCA1 intensity was not associated with overall survival or recurrence-free survival.
CONCLUSIONS - Our results demonstrate a possible association of BRCA1 expression pattern with pathologic stage, implying a potential role of BRCA1 in PDAC development and progression.