The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Kristian Pietras

Kristian Pietras

Research team manager

Kristian Pietras

Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein contributes to the development and metastasis of breast cancer


  • E Englund
  • M Bartoschek
  • B Reitsma
  • L Jacobsson
  • A Escudero-Esparza
  • Akira Orimo
  • K Leandersson
  • C Hagerling
  • A Aspberg
  • P Storm
  • M Okroj
  • H Mulder
  • K Jirström
  • K Pietras
  • A M Blom

Summary, in English

Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) is a soluble pentameric protein expressed in cartilage and involved in collagen organization. Tissue microarrays derived from two cohorts of patients with breast cancer (n=122 and n=498) were immunostained, revealing varying expression of COMP, both in the tumor cells and surrounding stroma. High levels of COMP in tumor cells correlated, independently of other variables, with poor survival and decreased recurrence-free survival. Breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231, stably expressing COMP were injected into the mammary fat pad of SCID (CB-17/Icr-Prkdc(scid)/Rj) mice. Tumors expressing COMP were significantly larger and were more prone to metastasize as compared with control, mock-transfected, tumors. In vitro experiments confirmed that COMP-expressing cells had a more invasive phenotype, which could in part be attributed to an upregulation of matrix metalloprotease-9. Furthermore, microarray analyses of gene expression in tumors formed in vivo showed that COMP expression induced higher expression of genes protecting against endoplasmic reticulum stress. This observation was confirmed in vitro as COMP-expressing cells showed better survival as well as a higher rate of protein synthesis when treated with brefeldin A, compared with control cells. Further, COMP-expressing cells appeared to undergo a metabolic switch, that is, a Warburg effect. Thus, in vitro measurement of cell respiration indicated decreased mitochondrial metabolism. In conclusion, COMP is a novel biomarker in breast cancer, which contributes to the severity of the disease by metabolic switching and increasing invasiveness and tumor cell viability, leading to reduced survival in animal models and human patients.


  • Molecular Skeletal Biology
  • Protein Chemistry, Malmö
  • Division of Translational Cancer Research
  • Diabetes - Molecular Metabolism
  • Cancer Immunology, Malmö
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Rheumatology
  • Translational Muscle Research
  • BioCARE: Biomarkers in Cancer Medicine improving Health Care, Education and Innovation

Publishing year












Document type

Journal article


Nature Publishing Group


  • Cancer and Oncology


  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Recurrence
  • Journal Article



Research group

  • Molecular Skeletal Biology
  • Protein Chemistry, Malmö
  • Diabetes - Molecular Metabolism
  • Cancer Immunology, Malmö
  • Translational Muscle Research


  • ISSN: 1476-5594