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Expression of Claudin-9 (CLDN9) in breast cancer, the clinical significance in connection with its subcoat anchorage proteins ZO-1 and ZO-3 and impact on drug resistance

Zhuang, Xinguo, Martin, Tracey A. ORCID:, Ruge, Fiona, Zeng, Jianyuan, Li, Xinyu, Khan, Elyas, Dou, Qingping, Davies, Eleri and Jiang, Wen G. ORCID: 2023. Expression of Claudin-9 (CLDN9) in breast cancer, the clinical significance in connection with its subcoat anchorage proteins ZO-1 and ZO-3 and impact on drug resistance. Biomedicines 11 (12) , 3136. 10.3390/biomedicines11123136

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(1) Introduction: Claudin-9 (CLDN9) is a member of the claudin protein family, a critical transmembrane protein family for tight junctions that are implemented in the progression of numerous cancer types. The present study investigated the role that CLDN9, along with the subcoat proteins, Zonula Occludens (ZOs), plays in clinical breast cancer and subsequent impact on drug response of patients. (2) Methods: CLDN9 protein and CLDN9 transcript were determined and correlated with clinical and pathological indicators, together with the status of hormonal receptors. The levels of CLDN9 transcript were also assessed against the therapeutic responses of the patients to chemotherapies by using a dataset from the TCGA database. Breast cancer cell models, representing different molecular subtypes of breast cancer, with differential expression of CLDN9 were created and used to assess the biological impact and response to chemotherapeutic drugs. (3) Results: Breast cancer tissues expressed significantly higher levels of the CLDN9, with the high levels being associated with shorter survival. CLDN9 was significantly correlated with its anchorage proteins ZO-1 and ZO-3. Integrated expression of CLDN9, ZO-1 and ZO-3 formed a signature that was significantly linked to overall survival (OS) (p = 0.013) and relapse-free survival (RFS) (p = 0.024) in an independent matter. CLDN9 transcript was significantly higher in patients who were resistant to chemotherapies (p < 0.000001). CLDN9 connection to chemoresistance was particularly prominent in patients of ER-positive (ER(+)), Her-2-negative((Her-2(−)), ER(+)/Her-2(−) and triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs), but not in patients with HER-2-positive tumors. In Her-2-negative MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cancer cells, loss of CLDN9 significantly increased sensitivity to several chemotherapeutic drugs including paclitaxel, gemcitabine and methotrexate, which was not seen in Her-2(+) SKBR3 cells. However, suppressing Her-2 using neratinib, a permanent Her-2 inhibitor, sensitized cellular response to these chemodrugs in cells with CLDN9 knockdown. (4) Conclusions: CLDN9 is an important prognostic indicator for patients with breast cancer and also a pivotal factor in assessing patient responses to chemotherapies. Her-2 is a negating factor for the treatment response prediction value by CLDN9 and negating Her-2 and CLDN9 may enhance breast cancer cellular response to chemotherapeutic drugs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2227-9059
Funders: the Cardiff University-Xiamen University Strategic Partnership Fund
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 November 2023
Date of Acceptance: 20 November 2023
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2023 14:52

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