Published in

MDPI, Cells, 7(8), p. 652, 2019

DOI: 10.3390/cells8070652



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Prognostic Significance of TWIST1, CD24, CD44, and ALDH1 Transcript Quantification in EpCAM-Positive Circulating Tumor Cells from Early Stage Breast Cancer Patients

Journal article published in 2019 by Areti Strati ORCID, Michail Nikolaou ORCID, Vassilis Georgoulias, Evi Lianidou
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


(1) Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate the prognostic significance of EMT-associated (TWIST1) and stem-cell (SC) transcript (CD24, CD44, ALDH1) quantification in EpCAM+ circulating tumor cells (CTCs) of early breast cancer patients. (2) Methods: 100 early stage breast cancer patients and 19 healthy donors were enrolled in the study. CD24, CD44, and ALDH1 transcripts of EpCAM+ cells were quantified using a novel highly sensitive and specific quadraplex RT-qPCR, while TWIST1 transcripts were quantified by single RT-qPCR. All patients were followed up for more than 5 years. (3) Results: A significant positive correlation between overexpression of TWIST1 and CD24−/low/CD44high profile was found. Kaplan–Meier analysis revealed that the ER/PR-negative (HR-) patients and those patients with more than 3 positive lymph nodes that overexpressed TWIST1 in EpCAM+ cells had a significant lower DFI (log rank test; p < 0.001, p < 0.001) and OS (log rank test; p = 0.006, p < 0.001). Univariate and multivariate analysis also revealed the prognostic value of TWIST1 overexpression and CD24−/low/CD44high and CD24−/low/ALDH1high profile for both DFI and OS. (4) Conclusions: Detection of TWIST1 overexpression and stem-cell (CD24, CD44, ALDH1) transcripts in EpCAM+ CTCs provides prognostic information in early stage breast cancer patients.