Association of increased primary breast tumor AGR2 with decreased disease-specific survival

Phoebe Ann, Brandon Luke L. Seagle, Arunima Shilpi, Manoj Kandpal, Shohreh Shahabi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective. Tumor expression of Anterior Gradient 2 (AGR2), an endoplasmic reticulum protein disulfide isomerase, was associated with decreased breast cancer survival. We aimed to validate the association of tumor AGR2 mRNA expression with disease-specific survival (DSS) and identify differentially expressed signaling pathways between high and low AGR2 expression tumor groups. Methods. Primary tumor mRNA expression data from the METABRIC study was used to evaluate AGR2 expression as a prognostic factor for DSS while adjusting for survival-determining confounders using Cox proportional-hazards regression. Differentially expressed genes and signaling pathway differences between high and low AGR2 groups were determined by modular enrichment analyses using DAVID and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Results. Increased tumor AGR2 mRNA expression was associated with decreased DSS among 1,341 women (per each standard deviation increase of AGR2 expression: HR 1.14, 95% CI: 1.01-1.29, P = 0.03). Pathway analyses supported prior experimental studies showing that estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) regulated AGR2 expression. Canonical signaling pathways significantly differentially represented between high and low AGR2 groups included those involved in inflammation and immunity. Conclusion. Increased primary tumor AGR2 expression was associated with decreased DSS. Pathway analyses suggested that increased AGR2 was associated with endoplasmic reticular homeostasis, possibly allowing tumor cells to overcome hypoxic stress and meet the increased protein demand of tumorigenesis, thereby preventing unfolded protein response-mediated apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23114-23125
Number of pages12
Issue number33
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • AGR2
  • ER+ breast cancer
  • Primary tumor mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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