Mucin-1 Protein Is a Prognostic Marker for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: Results From the CONKO-001 Study

  • Jana Käthe Striefler
  • Hanno Riess
  • Philipp Lohneis
  • Sven Bischoff
  • Annika Kurreck
  • Dominik Paul Modest
  • Marcus Bahra
  • Helmut Oettle
  • Marianne Sinn
  • Henrik Bläker
  • Carsten Denkert
  • Sebastian Stintzing
  • Bruno Valentin Sinn (Shared last author)
  • Uwe Pelzer (Shared last author)

Related Research units


Background: The Mucin-family protein, MUC1, impacts on carcinogenesis and tumor invasion. We evaluated the impact of MUC1 expression on outcome in a cohort of 158 patients with resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC) in the CONKO-001 study (adjuvant gemcitabine [gem] vs. observation [obs]).

Methods: The percentage of MUC1-positive tumor cells by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and the staining intensity were evaluated by two observers blinded to outcome. The numeric values of both parameters were multiplied, resulting in an immunoreactivity score (IRS) ranging from 0 to 12. The level of MUC1 expression was defined as follows: IRS 0-4 (low) vs IRS >4 (high). Outcomes in terms of disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were evaluated by Kaplan-Meier method, log-rank tests and Cox regressions.

Results: In total, tumors of 158 study patients were eligible for immunohistochemistry of MUC1. High cytoplasmic MUC1 expression was associated with impaired DFS and OS in the overall study population (hazard ratio (HR) for DFS: 0.49, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.78, p = .003; HR for OS: 0.46, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.73, p = .001). In the study arms, prognostic effects of MUC1 were also evident in the observation group (HR for DFS: 0.55; 95% CI 0.29 to 1.04, p = .062; HR for OS: 0.34, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.67, p = .001) and trending in the gem group (HR for DFS: 0.48, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.95, p = .041; HR for OS: 0.56, 95% CI 0.28 to1.11, p = .093).

Conclusion: Our data suggest that MUC1 expression is a powerful prognostic marker in patients with PDAC after curatively intended resection.

Bibliographical data

Original languageEnglish
Article number670396
Publication statusPublished - 2021
PubMed 34386419