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Liver kinase B1—a potential therapeutic target in hormone-sensitive breast cancer in older women

Syed, Binafsha Manzoor; Green, Andrew R.; Morgan, David A.L.; Ellis, Ian O.; Cheung, Kwok-Leung


Binafsha Manzoor Syed

David A.L. Morgan


Background: The role of liver kinase B1 (LKB1), a serine/threonine kinase, has been described in the development of PeutzJagher’s syndrome, where a proportion (~45%) of patients have developed breast cancer in their lifetime. Cell line studies have linked LKB1 with oestrogen receptors and also with AMPK- pathway for energy metabolism. However limited studies have investigated protein expression of LKB1 in tumour tissues and its intracellular relationships. This study aimed to investigate the intracellular molecular relationships of LKB1 in older women with early operable primary breast cancer and its correlation with long term clinical outcome.
Between 1973-2010 a consecutive series of 1,758 older (≥70 years) women with T0-2N0-1M0 breast carcinoma were managed in a dedicated facility. Of these 813 patients underwent primary surgery and 575 had good quality tumour samples available for tissue microarray construction. LKB1 was assessed in 407 cases by indirect immunohistochemistry. Tumours with 30% or more of cells with cytoplasmic LKB1 expression were considered positive. LKB1 expression was compared with tumour size, histological grade, axillary lymph node stage, ER, PgR, EGFR, HER2, HER3, HER4, BRCA1&2, p53, Ki67, Bcl2, Muc1, E-Cadherin, basal (CK5, CK5/6, CK14 and CK17) and luminal (CK7/8, CK18 and CK19) cytokeratins, MDM)2 and MDM4 , and correlated with long-term clinical outcome.
Positive LKB1 expression was seen in 318 (78.1%) patients, and was significantly associated with high tumourgrade, high Ki67, over-expression of HER2, VEGF, HER4, BRCA2, MDM2 and negative expression of CD44 (p less than 0.05). There was no significant correlation with tumour size, axillary lymph node status, ER, PgR, p53, basal or luminal cytokeratins, Bcl2, Muc1, EGFR, HER3, MDM4, E-cadherin and BRCA1. LKB1 did not show any significant influence on survival in the overall population; however, in those patients receiving adjuvant endocrine therapy for ER positive tumours, those with positive LKB1 had significantly better 5-year breast cancer specific survival when compared to those without such expression (93% versus 74%, p = 0.03).
Conclusion: LKB1 expression has shown association with poor prognostic factors in older women with breast cancer. However, LKB1 expression appears to be associated with better survival outcome among those patients receiving adjuvant endocrine therapy. Further research is required to explore its potential role as a therapeutic target.


Syed, B. M., Green, A. R., Morgan, D. A., Ellis, I. O., & Cheung, K. (2019). Liver kinase B1—a potential therapeutic target in hormone-sensitive breast cancer in older women. Cancers, 11(2), 1-17.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 19, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 28, 2019
Publication Date Jan 28, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 11, 2019
Journal Cancers
Electronic ISSN 2072-6694
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 2
Article Number 149
Pages 1-17
Keywords LKB1; Breast Cancer; Older women; Metformin; Endocrine therapy
Public URL
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