ST2, a member of the interleukin (IL)-1receptor family, regulates Th1/Th2 immune responses in autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. However, the role of ST2 signaling in tumor growth and metastasis of breast cancers has not been investigated. This study investigated the possible role of soluble ST2 (sST2) in breast cancer.
The serum levels of IL-33, sST2, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in 150 breast cancer patients and 90 healthy women were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Estrogen receptor(ER), progesterone receptor, human epithelial receptor (HER)-2, and cell cycle regulated protein Ki-67 were measured. Clinical stage, tumor size, lymph node metastasis, and histological type were also recorded.
The serum levels of sST2, IL-33, and VEGF were significantly higher in breast cancer patients than in the control group (P < 0.05, each). Serum sST2 levels in ER-positive breast cancer patients were significantly associated with age, histological type, clinical stage, tumor size, and Ki-67 status (P < 0.05, each). Moreover, the serum levels of IL-33 and sST2 in breast cancers significantly correlated with VEGF levels (IL-33: r = 0.375, P < 0.0001; sST2: r = 0.164, P = 0.045). Serum levels of sST2, IL-33, and VEGF decreased after modified radical mastectomy in ER-positive breast cancers. Serum levels of IL-33, sST2, and VEGF and clinicopathological factors were not significantly correlated with disease-free survival and overall survival of ER-positive breast cancer women during follow-up.
Serum sST2 levels in ER-positive breast cancer patients are significantly associated with factors that indicate poor prognosis.