Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 6 pp 8777—8796

Comprehensive analysis of expression and prognostic value of the claudin family in human breast cancer

Guangda Yang1, , Liumeng Jian2, , Qianya Chen1, ,

  • 1 Department of Cancer Chemotherapy, Zengcheng District People’s Hospital of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
  • 2 Department of Neurology, Zengcheng District People’s Hospital of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China

Received: December 2, 2020       Accepted: January 25, 2021       Published: March 10, 2021
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2021 Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Claudins (CLDN) are structural components of tight junctions that function in paracellular transport and maintain the epithelial barrier function. Altered expression and distribution of members of the claudin family have been implicated in several cancers including breast cancer (BC). We performed a comprehensive analysis of the expression and prognostic value of claudins in BC using various online databases. Compared with normal tissues, CLDN3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 14 were upregulated in BC tissues, whereas CLDN2, 5, 8, 10, 11, 15, 19, and 20 were downregulated. A high expression of CLDN2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, and 14–20 was associated with better relapse-free survival (RFS), whereas a high CLDN3 expression correlated with poor RFS. In addition, a high expression of CLDN3, 4, 14, and 20 was associated with poor overall survival (OS), whereas that of CLDN5 and CLDN11 was linked to a better OS. Although METABRIC and TCGA datasets revealed 22% and 27% gene alterations, respectively, in the members of the claudin family, these were not associated with survival. These findings suggest CLDN3, 5, and 11 could be promising therapeutic targets for patients with BC.


BC: breast cancer; CLDNs: claudins; bc-GenExMiner: breast cancer gene expression miner; TCGA: The Cancer Genome Atlas; ER: estrogen receptor; HER2: human epidermal growth factor receptor 2; IHC: immunohistochemistry; PR: progesterone receptor; TNBC: triple-negative breast cancer; RFS: relapse-free survival; OS: overall survival; DMFS: distant metastasis-free survival; PPS: post-progression survival; SBR: Scarff–Bloom–Richardson; NPI: Nottingham Prognostic Index; EMT: epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.