Oct4 Is Not a Crucial Factor in Breast Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in Contrast to Recent Beliefs

  • Ata Abbasi ORCID Mail Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran
  • Farahnaz Noroozinia ORCID Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran
  • Sonia Hosseinzadeh ORCID Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran.
  • Mohammad Amin Abbasi ORCID Firoozabadi Hospital Clinical Research Development Unit (FHCRDU), Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Samira Anvar ORCID Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran
  • Seyed Arman Seyed Mokhtari ORCID Student Research Committee, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran
Breast cancer, Biomarker, Octamer binding transcription factor 4 (Oct4), Carcinogenesis


We aimed to determine the frequency of Octamer binding transcription factor 4 (Oct4) expression in human invasive ductal carcinoma. 72 paraffin-embedded samples of breast cancer were enrolled. All blocks were stained for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor 2(HER 2/neu), ki67, and Oct4 by immunohistochemistry (IHC) method. Of 72 enrolled cases, the mean age was 49.6±1.42 years. 18 (25%) of cases were luminal A, 14 (19.4%) were Her2 positive, 31 (43%) were luminal B, and 9 (12.5%) were triple-negative. IHC staining for Oct4 revealed no Oct4 expression in breast cancer samples. The staining was repeated twice, and seminoma was used as a positive control in each run. The results of both repeats were the same, and none of the examined samples showed Oct4 expression. We found no Oct4 expression in breast cancer samples examined in our study. We also did not find Oct4 expression in normal breast tissue. Our study is one of the few studies which has evaluated Oct4 expression in human breast cancer on tissue samples and is one of the least that has reported no expression of Oct4 in breast cancer.


1. Liu T, Sun B, Zhao X, Li Y, Gu Q, Dong X, Liu F. OCT4 expression and vasculogenic mimicry formation positively correlate with poor prognosis in human breast cancer. Int J Mol Sci 2014; 15(11): 19634-49.
2. Niu Y, Liu T, Tse GM, Sun B, Niu R, Li HM, Wang H, Yang Y, Ye X, Wang Y, Yu Q, Zhang F. Increased expression of centrosomal alpha, gamma-tubulin in atypical ductal hyperplasia and carcinoma of the breast. Cancer Sci 2009; 100(4): 580-7.
3. Al-Alwan M, Olabi S, Ghebeh H, Barhoush E, Tulbah A, Al-Tweigeri T, Ajarim D, Adra C. Fascin is a key regulator of breast cancer invasion that acts via the modification of metastasis-associated molecules. PLoS One 2011; 6(11): e27339
4. Loh YH, Wu Q, Chew JL, Vega VB, Zhang W, Chen X, Bourque G, George J, Leong B, Liu J, Wong KY, Sung KW, Lee CW, Zhao XD, Chiu KP, Lipovich L, Kuznetsov VA, Robson P, Stanton LW, Wei CL, Ruan Y, Lim B, Ng HH. The Oct4 and Nanog transcription network regulates pluripotency in mouse embryonic stem cells. Nat Genet 2006; 38(4): 431-40.
5. Shi G, Jin Y. Role of Oct4 in maintaining and regaining stem cell pluripotency. Stem Cell Res Ther 2010; 1(5): 39.
6. Gidekel S, Pizov G, Bergman Y, Pikarsky E. Oct-3/4 is a dose-dependent oncogenic fate determinant. Cancer Cell 2003; 4(5): 361-70.
7. Idrees MT, Williamson SR, Kieffer TW, Cheng L. The role of OCT4 immunohistochemistry in evaluation of retroperitoneal lymph node dissections: a pilot study. Mod Pathol 2013; 26(12): 1613-9.
8. Cheng L, Sung MT, Cossu-Rocca P, Jones TD, MacLennan GT, De Jong J. OCT4: biological functions and clinical applications as a marker of germ cell neoplasia. J Pathol 2007; 211(1): 1-9.
9. Li SJ, Huang J, Zhou XD, Zhang WB, Lai YT, Che GW. Clinicopathological and prognostic significance of Oct-4 expression in patients with non-small cell lung cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Thorac Dis 2016; 8(7): 1587-600.
10. Hatefi N, Nouraee N, Parvin M, Ziaee SA, Mowla SJ. Evaluating the expression of oct4 as a prognostic tumor marker in bladder cancer. Iran J Basic Med Sci 2012; 15(6): 1154-61.
11. Iqbal BM, Buch A. Hormone receptor (ER, PR, HER2/neu) status and proliferation index marker (Ki-67) in breast cancers: Their onco-pathological correlation, shortcomings and future trends. Med. J. DY Patil Univ. 2016 Nov 1;9(6):674.
12. Niwa, H, Miyazaki, J, Smith, AG. Quantitative expression of Oct-3/4 defines differentiation, dedifferentiation or self-renewal of ES cells. Nat Genet 2000; 24: 372–6.
13. Qian X, Zhao FQ. Regulatory roles of Oct proteins in the mammary gland.Biochim Biophys Acta 2016; 1859(6): 812-9.
14. Shi Y, Desponts C, Do JT, Hahm HS, Schöler HR, Ding S. Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic fibroblasts by Oct4 and Klf4 with small molecule compounds, Cell Stem Cell 2008; 3: 568–74.
15. Tai MH, Chang CC, Olson LK, Trosko JE. Oct4 expression in adult human stem cells: evidence in support of the stem cell theory of carcinogenesis, Carcinogenesis 2005; 26: 495–502.
16. Vega-Crespo A, Truong B, Hermann KJ, Awe JP, Chang KM, Lee PC. Investigating the functionality of an OCT4-short response element in human induced pluripotent stem cells. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 2016; 3: 16050
17. Guo Y, Mantel C, Hromas RA, Broxmeyer HE. Oct-4 is critical for survival/antiapoptosis of murine embryonic stem cells subjected to stress: effects associated with Stat3/survivin.Stem Cells 2008; 26(1): 30-4.
18. Huang ZJ, You J, Luo WY, Chen BS, Feng QZ, Wu BL, Jiang L, Luo Q. Reduced tumorigenicity and drug resistance through the down-regulation of octamer-binding protein 4 and Nanog transcriptional factor expression in human breast stem cells. Mol Med Rep 2015; 11(3): 1647-54.
19. Cai S, Geng S, Jin F, Liu J, Qu C, Chen B. POU5F1/Oct-4 expression in breast cancer tissue is significantly associated with non-sentinel lymph node metastasis.BMC Cancer 2016; 16: 175.
20. Wang D, Lu P, Zhang H, Luo M, Zhang X, Wei X, Gao J, Zhao Z, Liu C. Oct-4 and nanog promote the epithelial-mesenchymal transition of breast cancer stem cells and are associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. Oncotarget 2014; 10803–10815.
21. Cho Y, Kang HG, Kim SJ, Lee S, Jee S, Ahn SG, Kang MJ, Song JS, Chung JY, Yi EC, Chun KH. Correction to: Post-translational modification of OCT4 in breast cancer tumorigenesis. Cell Death Differ 2019. doi: 10.1038/s41418-019-0439-x.
How to Cite
Abbasi A, Noroozinia F, Hosseinzadeh S, Abbasi MA, Anvar S, Seyed Mokhtari SA. Oct4 Is Not a Crucial Factor in Breast Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in Contrast to Recent Beliefs. Acta Med Iran. 58(9):461-466.