Differential expression and prognostic value of HMGA1 in pancreatic head and periampullary cancer
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The high mortality rate and minimal progress made in the treatment of pancreatic cancer over the last few decades, warrant an alternative approach. Treatment protocols should be individualised to the patient guided by prognostic markers. A particularly interesting target would be the architectural transcription factor high mobility group A1 (HMGA1), that is low or undetectable in normal tissue, induced during neoplastic transformation and consequently often exceptionally high in cancer. The aim of the current study was therefore to determine the differential expression of HMGA1 in pancreatic head and periampullary cancer and investigate its relation with outcome. HMGA1 expression was determined by immunohistochemistry on original paraffin embedded tissue from 99 pancreatic head- and 112 periampullary cancers (with R0). Expression was investigated for associations with recurrence free (RFS), cancer specific (CSS) and overall survival (OS) and conventional prognostic factors. HMGA1 was expressed in 47% and 26% of pancreatic head- and periampullary cancer, respectively and associated with poor RFS, CSS and OS in periampullary cancer. CSS 5 years following surgery was 25% and 44% for patients with tumours which were positive or negative for HMGA1 protein, respectively. HMGA1 expression was not associated with survival in pancreatic head cancer. In conclusion HMGA1 was identified as an independent prognostic marker predicting poor outcome in periampullary cancer. Although expressed to a higher extent as compared to periampullary cancer, HMGA1 was not associated with survival in pancreatic head cancer.