MUC4 as a diagnostic marker in cancer

Subhankar Chakraborty, Maneesh Jain, Aaron R. Sasson, Surinder K. Batra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Mucins are high molecular mass glycoproteins whose role in diagnosis, prognosis and therapy is being increasingly recognized owing to their altered expression in a variety of carcinomas. MUC4, a membrane-bound mucin encoded by a gene located on chromosome locus 3q29, is aberrantly expressed in several cancers including those of the bile duct, breast, colon, esophagus, ovary, lung, prostate, stomach and pancreas. Objective: This review considers the potential use of the MUC4 expression pattern in the diagnosis and prognosis of various cancers. Results/conclusion: MUC4 expression is a specific marker of epithelial tumors and its expression correlates positively with the degree of differentiation in several cancers. Importantly, MUC4 has emerged as a specific marker of clysplasia, being expressed in the earliest dysplastic lesions preceding several malignancies, including lethal pancreatic cancer. The presence of MUC4-specific antibodies in the serum and of the transcript in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of cancer patients raises the possibility of it emerging as a new diagnostic biomarker for bedaside application in high-risk individuals and those with established cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-910
Number of pages20
JournalExpert Opinion on Medical Diagnostics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Cancer
  • Diagnosis
  • MUC4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, medical


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