The association of HER2 status with urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) levels raises the question whether uPA/PAI-1 level carries additional clinically relevant prognostic information independently from HER2 status. The aim of our study was to compare the prognostic value of uPA/PAI-1 level, HER2 status, and traditional prognostic factors for survival in node-negative breast cancer patients.
Patients and methods
A retrospective analysis of 858 node-negative breast cancer patients treated in Maribor University Clinical Center, Slovenia, in the years 2000–2009 was performed. Data were obtained from patient medical records. The median follow-up time was 100 months. Univariate and multivariate analyses of disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were performed using the Cox regression and the Cox proportional hazards model.
In univariate analysis, age, tumor size, grade, lymphovascular invasion, HER2 status and UPA/PAI-1 level were associated with DFS, and age, tumor size, grade, and uPA/PAI-1 level were associated with OS. In the multivariate model, the most important determinants of DFS were age, estrogen receptor status and uPA/PAI-1 level, and the most important factors for OS were patient age and tumor grade. The HR for death from any cause in the multivariate model was 1.98 (95% CI 0.83–4.76) for patients with high uPA and/or PAI-1 compared to patients with both values low.
uPA/PAI-1 level clearly carries an independent prognostic value regardless of HER2 status in node-negative breast cancer and could be used in addition to HER2 and other markers to guide clinical decisions in this setting.