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  • Khatun, Masuma; Urpilainen, Elina; Ahtikoski, Anne; Arffman, Riikka K.; Pasanen, Annukka; Puistola, Ulla; Tapanainen, Juha S.; Andersson, Leif C.; Butzow, Ralf; Loukovaara, Mikko; Piltonen, Terhi T. (2021)
    Stanniocalcin-1 (STC-1) is a glycoprotein hormone involved in diverse biological processes, including regulation of calcium phosphate homeostasis, cell proliferation, apoptosis, inflammation, oxidative stress responses, and cancer development. The role of STC-1 in endometrial cancer (EC) is yet to be elucidated. In this study, we investigated the protein expression pattern of STC-1 in a tissue microarray (TMA) cohort of hysterectomy specimens from 832 patients with EC. We then evaluated the prognostic value of STC-1 expression regarding the clinicopathologic features and patients survival over a period of 140 months. Our results revealed that in EC tissue samples, STC-1 is mainly localized in the endometrial epithelium, although some expression was also observed in the stroma. Decreased STC-1 expression was associated with factors relating to a worse prognosis, such as grade 3 endometrioid tumors (p = 0.030), deep myometrial invasion (p = 0.003), lymphovascular space invasion (p = 0.050), and large tumor size (p = 0.001). Moreover, STC-1 expression was decreased in tumors obtained from obese women (p = 0.014) and in women with diabetes mellitus type 2 (DMT2; p = 0.001). Interestingly, the data also showed an association between DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency and weak STC-1 expression, specifically in the endometrial epithelium (p = 0.048). No association was observed between STC-1 expression and disease-specific survival. As STC-1 expression was particularly low in cases with obesity and DMT2 in the TMA cohort, we also evaluated the correlation between metformin use and STC-1 expression in an additional EC cohort that only included women with DMT2 (n = 111). The analysis showed no difference in STC-1 expression in either the epithelium or the stroma in women undergoing metformin therapy compared to metformin non-users. Overall, our data may suggest a favorable role for STC-1 in EC behavior; however, further studies are required to elucidate the detailed mechanism and possible applications to cancer treatment.
  • Khatun, Masuma; Arffman, Riikka K.; Lavogina, Darja; Kangasniemi, Marika; Laru, Johanna; Ahtikoski, Anne; Lehtonen, Siri; Paulson, Mariana; Hirschberg, Angelica Linden; Salumets, Andres; Andersson, Leif C.; Piltonen, Terhi T. (2020)
    Stanniocalcin-1 (STC-1) is a pro-survival factor that protects tissues against stressors, such as hypoxia and inflammation. STC-1 is co-expressed with the endometrial receptivity markers, and recently endometrial STC-1 was reported to be dysregulated in endometriosis, a condition linked with endometrial progesterone resistance and inflammation. These features are also common in the endometrium in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder in women. Given that women with PCOS present with subfertility, pregnancy complications, and increased risk for endometrial cancer, we investigated endometrial STC-1 expression in affected women. Endometrial biopsy samples were obtained from women with PCOS and controls, including samples from overweight/obese women with PCOS before and after a 3-month lifestyle intervention. A total of 98 PCOS and 85 control samples were used in immunohistochemistry, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, or in vitro cell culture. STC-1 expression was analyzed at different cycle phases and in endometrial stromal cells (eSCs) after steroid hormone exposure. The eSCs were also challenged with 8-bromo-cAMP and hypoxia for STC-1 expression. The findings indicate that STC-1 expression is not steroid hormone mediated although secretory-phase STC-1 expression was blunted in PCOS. Lower expression seems to be related to attenuated STC-1 response to stressors in PCOS eSCs, shown as downregulation of protein kinase A activity. The 3-month lifestyle intervention did not restore STC-1 expression in PCOS endometrium. More studies are warranted to further elucidate the mechanisms behind the altered endometrial STC-1 expression and rescue mechanism in the PCOS endometrium. Summary sentence Endometrial expression of STC-1 in the secretory phase is blunted in women with PCOS, suggesting impaired protection against stress.