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Can granulysin provide prognostic value in primary breast cancer?

Milovanović, Jelena; Todorović-Raković, Nataša; Vujasinović, Tijana; Greenman, John; Mandušić, Vesna; Radulovic, Marko


Jelena Milovanović

Nataša Todorović-Raković

Tijana Vujasinović

Vesna Mandušić

Marko Radulovic


Background: Granulysin (GNLY) is a cytolytic and proinflammatory molecule which also acts as an immune alarmin. The multifunctional nature of this molecule has made it challenging to define its full potential as a biomarker in breast cancer. Aim: To evaluate the prognostic value of intratumoral GNLY in primary breast cancer patients and its association with established clinicopathological parameters. Patients and methods: The study included 69 node-negative breast cancer patients with known clinicopathological parameters, all of whom had not received any prior hormonal or chemotherapeutic systemic therapy that would interfere with the course of disease. The median follow-up period was 144 months. Steroid hormone receptor status was determined by ligand-binding assay and HER2 status by chromogenic in situ hybridisation (CISH). Intratumoral GNLY mRNA levels were determined by RT-qPCR. Prognostic performance was evaluated by the receiver operating characteristic (ROC), Cox proportional hazards regression and Kaplan-Meier analysis. Classification of patients into GNLYlow and GNLYhigh subgroups was performed by the use of the outcome-oriented cut-off point categorisation approach. Results: There was a significant difference between GNLY values of patients without any recurrences and those with local or distant recurrences (Mann-Whitney test, p = 0.05 and p = 0.02, respectively). None of the tested parameters showed prognostic significance for local and distant recurrences when combined. When distant metastases and local recurrences were separated as events, the best prognostic performance was observed for GNLY as compared with any clinicopathological parameter (AUC=0.24 and p = 0.04 for local events; AUC=0.71 and p = 0.03 for distant events). Local recurrence incidence was 0% for the GNLYhigh subgroup and 19% for the GNLYlow subgroup; however distant recurrence incidence was 24% for the GNLYhigh subgroup but only 3% for the GNLYlow subgroup (Kaplan–Meier analysis). A significant positive correlation was found between intratumoral ER and GNLY levels, and a significant negative correlation between tumour grade and GNLY levels. Conclusion: High levels of granulysin prognosticate low risk of local recurrence but a high risk of distant metastasis in primary, untreated, breast cancer patients.


Milovanović, J., Todorović-Raković, N., Vujasinović, T., Greenman, J., Mandušić, V., & Radulovic, M. (2022). Can granulysin provide prognostic value in primary breast cancer?. Pathology - Research and Practice, 237, Article 154039.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 20, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 22, 2022
Publication Date 2022-09
Deposit Date Aug 9, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 23, 2023
Journal Pathology Research and Practice
Print ISSN 0344-0338
Electronic ISSN 1618-0631
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 237
Article Number 154039
Keywords Granulysin; Breast cancer; Biomarker; Prognosis
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