α-L-fucosidase 1 (FUCA1) is a lysosomal enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolytic cleavage of the terminal fucose residue in breast cancer cells. FUCA1 mRNA levels were detected by real-time PCR, and there was a greater than 139-fold increase in FUCA1 mRNA expression in breast tumor samples compared with normal breast tissue samples (*P = 0.005, n = 236). Higher FUCA1 mRNA expression was preferentially detected in early-stage tumors (stage 0 to 2) compared with advanced-stage tumors (stage 3 to 4) (stage 0-1 versus stage 3, *P = 0.015; stage 0-1 versus stage 4, *P = 0.024). FUCA1 protein levels were higher in advanced-stage tumors concomitant with decreased fucosylated Lewis-x antigen expression, as evidenced using the immunohistochemical staining H-score method (*P <0.001). Statistical analysis revealed that lower FUCA1 levels significantly predicted an inferior overall survival rate among triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients compared with non-TNBC patients (*P = 0.009). Two stable FUCA1 siRNA knock-down MDA-MB-231 cell lines were established, and the results suggest that transient FUCA inhibition creates a selective pressure that triggers the metastasis of primary tumor cells, as detected by wound healing and invasion assays (*P <0.01). The results suggest that FUCA1 may be a potential prognostic molecular target for clinical use, especially in TNBC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21283-21300
Number of pages18
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Glycosylation
  • Metastasis
  • Overall survival rate
  • Triple-negative breast cancer
  • α-L-fucosidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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