Journal Article
. 2020 Apr;181(3).
doi: 10.1007/s10549-020-05653-y.

MST1R (RON) expression is a novel prognostic biomarker for metastatic progression in breast cancer patients

Brian G Hunt 1 Christina A Wicker 2 Jennifer R Bourn 1 Elyse E Lower 3 Vinita Takiar 2 Susan E Waltz 4 
  • PMID: 32342233


Purpose: This study evaluates the prognostic significance of MST1R (RON) expression in breast cancer with respect to disease progression, long-term survival, subtype, and association with conventional prognostic factors.

Methods: The approach includes interrogation of survival and tumor staging with paired MST1R RNA expression from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets. Protein expression evaluation was performed using immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining of MST1R on breast cancer tissue samples from the Cancer Diagnosis Program Breast Cancer Progression tissue microarray and locally obtained breast tumor tissue samples analyzed with paired survival, metastasis, and subtype.

Results: Data from TCGA (n = 774) show poorer relapse-free survival (RFS) in patients with high MST1R expression (P = 0.32) and no difference in MST1R expression based on tumor stage (P = 0.77) or nodal status (P = 0.94). Patients in the GEO-derived Kaplan-Meier Plotter microarray dataset demonstrate the association of MST1R and poorer overall survival (n = 1402, P = 0.018) and RFS in patients receiving chemotherapy (n = 798, P = 0.041). Patients with high MST1R expression display worse overall survival (P = 0.01) and receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis demonstrate the predictive capacity of increased MST1R with early death (P = 0.0017) in IHC-stained samples. Paired IHC-stained breast tumor samples from the primary versus metastatic site show MST1R expression is associated with metastatic progression (P = 0.032), and ROC analysis supports the predictive capacity of MST1R in metastatic progression (P = 0.031). No associations of MST1R with estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), both ER and PR, HER2 positivity, or triple-negativity were found (P = 0.386, P = 0.766, P = 0.746, P = 0.457, P = 0.947, respectively).

Conclusions: MST1R expression has prognostic value in breast cancer with respect to survival and metastatic progression. MST1R expression is not associated with tumor stage, nodal status, or subtype.

Keywords: Biomarker; MST1R; Metastasis; RON; Subtype; Survival.