Elevated expression of hyaluronan synthase 2 associates with decreased survival in diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas, 2018

Topics: Hyaluronan synthase, Astrocytoma, Prognosis, Glioma, Hyaluronan

Authors: Mari Valkonen, Hannu Haapasalo, Kirsi Rilla, Kristiina Tyynelä-Korhonen, Ylermi Soini , Sanna Pasonen-Seppänen


Background: Diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas originate from astrocytic glial cells or their precursor cells and are the most common type of brain tumors in adults. In this retrospective study, we investigated the content of hyaluronan, its cell surface receptor, CD44 and the expression of hyaluronan metabolizing enzymes, in these aggressive tumors. Hyaluronan is the main component of extracellular matrix in the brain. In many tumors, aberrant hyaluronan metabolism implicates aggressive disease progression and metastatic potential.

Methods: Our material consisted of 163 diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas (WHO grades II-IV). Tumor samples were processed into tissue microarray (TMA) blocks. The TMA sections were stained for hyaluronan, CD44, hyaluronan synthases 1-3 (HAS1-3) and hyaluronidase 2 (HYAL2). The immunostaining results were compared with χ2 -test or with Kruskal-Wallis test for correlation with clinicopathological parameters and survival analyses were done with Kaplan-Meier log rank test and Cox regression.

Results: Hyaluronan and CD44 were strongly expressed in astrocytic gliomas but their expression did not correlate with WHO grade or any other clinicopathological parameters whereas high HAS2 staining intensity was observed in IDH1 negative tumors (p = 0.003). In addition, in non-parametric tests increased HAS2 staining intensity correlated with increased cell proliferation (p = 0.013) and in log rank test with decreased overall survival of patients (p = 0.001). In the Cox regression analysis HAS2 expression turned out to be a significant independent prognostic factor (p = 0.008).

Conclusions: This study indicates that elevated expression of HAS2 is associated with glioma progression and suggests that HAS2 has a prognostic significance in diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas.

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