Nuclear expression of the RNA-binding protein RBM3 is associated with an improved clinical outcome in breast cancer

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Center for Molecular Pathology, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.
Modern Pathology (Impact Factor: 6.19). 10/2009; 22(12):1564-74. DOI: 10.1038/modpathol.2009.124
Source: PubMed


Single-strand RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are involved in many aspects of RNA metabolism and in the regulation of gene transcription. The RBP RBM3 was recently suggested to be a proto-oncogene in colorectal cancer; however, such a role has not been corroborated by previous studies in the colon or other tumor types, and the prognostic implications of tumor-specific RBM3 expression remain unclear. Mono-specific antibodies against RBM3 were generated. Antibody specificity was confirmed using siRNA gene silencing, western blotting and immunohistochemistry on a panel of breast cancer cell lines. Using tissue microarrays and IHC, RBM3 protein expression was examined in 48 normal tissues and in 20 common cancers. Additional analysis in two independent breast cancer cohorts (n=1016) with long-term follow-up was also carried out. RBM3 was upregulated in cancer compared to normal tissues. The nuclear expression of RBM3 in breast cancer was associated with low grade (P<0.001), small tumors (P<0.001), estrogen receptor (ER) positivity (P<0.001) and Ki-67 negativity (P<0.001) in both the breast cancer cohorts. An increased nuclear expression of RBM3 was associated with a prolonged overall and recurrence-free survival. The prognostic value was particularly pronounced in hormone receptor-positive tumors and remained significant in multivariate interaction analysis after controlling for tamoxifen treatment (HR: 0.49, 95% CI: 0.30-0.79, P=0.004). These data strongly indicate that nuclear RBM3 is an independent favorable prognostic factor in breast cancer, and seems to have a specific role in ER-positive tumors.

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Available from: Olle Stål, May 05, 2014
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    • "RBM3 has seldom been found expressed in normal tissues, but it is more expressed in common cancers, particularly for the nuclear expression of Estrogen-Receptor (ER) positive tumors. These findings suggest the possible utility of the gene as a positive prognostic marker [47,48]. "
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    ABSTRACT: RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play important roles in cellular homeostasis by controlling gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. We explore the expression of more than 800 RBPs in sixteen healthy human tissues and their patterns of dysregulation in cancer genomes from The Cancer Genome Atlas project. We show that genes encoding RBPs are consistently and significantly highly expressed compared with other classes of genes, including those encoding regulatory components such as transcription factors, miRNAs and long non-coding RNAs. We also demonstrate that a set of RBPs, numbering approximately 30, are strongly upregulated (SUR) across at least two-thirds of the nine cancers profiled in this study. Analysis of the protein-protein interaction network properties for the SUR and non-SUR groups of RBPs suggests that path length distributions between SUR RBPs is significantly lower than those observed for non-SUR RBPs. We further find that the mean path lengths between SUR RBPs increases in proportion to their contribution to prognostic impact. We also note that RBPs exhibiting higher variability in the extent of dysregulation across breast cancer patients have a higher number of protein-protein interactions. We propose that fluctuating RBP levels might result in an increase in non-specific protein interactions, potentially leading to changes in the functional consequences of RBP binding. Finally, we show that the expression variation of a gene within a patient group is inversely correlated with prognostic impact. Overall, our results provide a roadmap for understanding the impact of RBPs on cancer pathogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Genome biology
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    • "Speculatively, these findings could indicate that loss of RBM3 expression results in a tumour phenotype more prone to metastatic spread than local aggressiveness. RBM3 has previously been shown to be upregulated in neoplastic as compared to normal tissue [7,9], which also seems to be true for urothelial bladder epithelium versus urothelial neoplasms ( While urothelial bladder cancer is in its nature a recurrent disease [1], a recurrence does not per se affect survival from the disease. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Low nuclear expression of the RNA-binding motif protein 3 (RBM3) has previously been found to be associated with poor prognosis in several cancer forms e.g. breast, ovarian, colorectal, prostate cancer and malignant melanoma. The aim of this study was to examine the prognostic impact of RBM3 expression in urinary bladder cancer. Methods Immunohistochemical RBM3 expression was examined in tumours from 343 patients with urothelial bladder cancer. Chi-square and Spearman’s correlation tests were applied to explore associations between RBM3 expression and clinicopathological characteristics. The impact of RBM3 expression on disease-specific survival (DSS), 5-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) was assessed by Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards modelling. Results Reduced nuclear RBM3 expression was significantly associated with more advanced tumour (T) stage (p <0.001) and high grade tumours (p=0.004). Negative RBM3 expression was associated with a significantly shorter DSS (HR=2.55; 95% CI 1.68-3.86)) and 5-year OS (HR=2.10; 95% CI 1.56-2.82), also in multivariable analysis (HR=1.65; 95% CI 1.07-2.53 for DSS and HR=1.54; 95% CI 1.13-2.10 for 5-year OS). In patients with Ta and T1 tumours expressing reduced RBM3 levels, Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a significantly shorter PFS (p=0.048) and 5-year OS (p=0.006). Conclusion Loss of RBM3 expression is associated with clinically more aggressive tumours and an independent factor of poor prognosis in patients with urothelial bladder cancer and a potentially useful biomarker for treatment stratification and surveillance of disease progression.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · BMC Urology
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    • "Despite increasing insights into melanoma biology and advances in various “omics” technologies [7-9], no prognostic biomarkers have yet been incorporated into clinical protocols. We have previously demonstrated that high nuclear expression of the RNA binding motif protein 3 (RBM3) is associated with an improved outcome in several major cancer forms, i.e. breast, ovarian, colorectal and prostate cancer and malignant melanoma [10-14]. In malignant melanoma, a significantly downregulated expression of RBM3 was observed in metastases compared to primary melanoma [12], which is in line with previous in vitro data demonstrating a significant downregulation of RBM3 expression in metastatic compared to primary melanoma cells [15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Malignant melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer with a variable clinical course even in patients with thin melanomas and localized disease. Despite increasing insights into melanoma biology, no prognostic biomarkers have yet been incorporated into clinical protocols. Reduced expression of the RNA binding motif protein 3 (RBM3) has been shown to correlate with tumour progression and poor prognosis in melanoma and several other cancer forms. In ovarian cancer, an inverse association was found between expression of RBM3 and the minichromosome maintenance 3 (MCM3) gene and protein. In melanoma, gene expression analysis and immunohistochemical validation has uncovered MCM3 as a putative prognostic biomarker. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations of MCM3 expression with clinical outcome and RBM3 expression in a prospective, population-based cohort of melanoma. Immunohistochemical MCM3 expression was examined in 224 incident cases of primary melanoma from the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study, previously analysed for RBM3 expression. Spearman´s Rho and Chi-Square tests were used to explore correlations between MCM3 expression, clinicopathological factors, and expression of RBM3 and Ki67. Kaplan Meier analysis, the log rank test, and univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards modelling were used to assess the impact of MCM3 expression on disease-free survival (DFS) and melanoma-specific survival (MSS). High MCM3 expression was significantly associated with unfavourable clinicopathological features and high Ki67 expression. A significant inverse correlation was seen between expression of MCM3 and RBM3 (p = 0.025). High MCM3 expression was associated with a reduced DFS (HR = 5.62) and MSS (HR = 6.03), and these associations remained significant in multivariable analysis, adjusted for all other factors (HR = 5.01 for DFS and HR = 4.96 for MSS). RBM3 expression remained an independent prognostic factor for MSS but not DFS in the multivariable model. These findings provide validation of the utility of MCM3 expression as an independent biomarker for prognostication of patients with primary melanoma. Moreover, the inverse association and prognostic impact of MCM3 and RBM3 expression indicate a possible interaction of these proteins in melanoma progression, the functional basis for which merits further study. VIRTUAL SLIDES: The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
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