Growth arrest-specific gene 6 expression in human breast cancer
Growth arrest-specific gene 6 (Gas6), identified in 1995, acts as the ligand to the Axl/Tyro3 family of tyrosine kinase receptors and exerts mitogenic activity when bound to these receptors. Overexpression of the Axl/Tyro3 receptor family has been found in breast, ovarian and lung tumours. Gas6 is upregulated 23-fold by progesterone acting through the progesterone receptor B (PRB). Recently, Gas6 has been shown to be a target for overexpression and amplification in breast cancer. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis was used to determine the levels of Gas6 mRNA expression in 49 primary breast carcinomas. Expression of PRB protein was evaluated immunohistochemically with a commercially available PRB antibody. The results showed a positive association between PRB protein and Gas6 mRNA levels (P=0.04). Gas6 correlated positively with a number of favourable prognostic variables including lymph node negativity (P=0.0002), younger age at diagnosis (P=0.04), smaller size of tumours (P=0.02), low Nottingham prognostic index scores (P=0.03) and low nuclear morphology (P=0.03). This study verifies for the first time the association between PRB and Gas6 in breast cancer tissue.