Cell surface GRP78: A potential marker of good prognosis and response to chemotherapy in breast cancer

Rinat Yerushalmi*, Annat Raiter, Karen Nalbandyan, Britta Hardy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) is a stress induced heat shock protein which, under limiting conditions, functions as a cell surface signaling receptor. Tumor cells are considered to be subjected to a physiologically stressful microenvironment due to their excessive growth. The role of GRP78 in tumor survival has been of notable interest. The present study aimed to assess the potential prognostic and predictive value of cell surface GRP78 expression in breast cancer tumor cells. Cell surface and cytoplasmic expression of GRP78 was examined by immunohistochemical staining of GRP78 in breast cancer archival paraffin-embedded tumor specimens. The cohort studied included breast cancer patients with operable T1,2, estrogen receptor-positive, node-negative cancer who were assessed using the Oncotype DX gene profile, as well as patients with locally advanced disease prior to and following neoadjuvant systemic treatment. GRP78 values were compared between the 2 groups, and prior to and following systemic treatment. Association analyses between GRP78 expression and prognostic markers were also performed. Cox regression analysis was used to examine the impact of these variables on disease-free survival (DFS). No differences in cytoplasmic GRP78 expression were observed. By contrast, the rates of cell surface GRP78 expression were 74.1% in the early stage operable patients, 36% in neoadjuvant systemic treatment patients prior to treatment and 62.5% in patients following systemic treatment (P<0.039). Positive cell surface GRP78 expression was associated with increased expression of the progesterone receptor (P=0.024), p53 expression (P=0.022) and improved DFS (P=0.047). In the case of GRP78 positivity, a trend for a superior response to chemotherapy was observed (P=0.19). The results of the present study indicated that cell surface GRP78 may be used as a marker for good prognosis in breast cancer and a potential marker for response to chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2149-2155
Number of pages7
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015


FundersFunder number
Israel Cancer Association2012016


    • 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein
    • Breast cancer
    • Neoadjuvant treatment
    • Predictive marker
    • Prognostic marker


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