Meningiomas are mostly benign tumors that, at times, can behave aggressively, displaying recurrence despite gross-total resection (GTR) and progression to overt malignancy. Such cases represent a clinical challenge, particularly because they are difficult to recognize at first diagnosis. SOX2 (Sex-determining region Y-box2) is a transcription factor with a key role in stem cell maintenance and has been associated with tumorigenesis in a variety of cancers. The purpose of the present work was to dissect the role of SOX2 in predicting the aggressiveness of meningioma. We analyzed progressive/recurrent WHO grade 1-2 meningiomas and WHO grade 3 meningiomas; as controls, non-recurring WHO grade 1 and grade 2 meningioma patients were enrolled. SOX2 expression was evaluated using both immunohistochemistry (IHC) and RT-PCR. The final analysis included 87 patients. IHC was able to reliably assess SOX2 expression, as shown by the good correlation with mRNA levels (Spearman R = 0.0398, p = 0.001, AUC 0.87). SOX2 expression was an intrinsic characteristic of any single tumor and did not change following recurrence or progression. Importantly, SOX2 expression at first surgery was strongly related to meningioma clinical behavior, histological grade and risk of recurrence. Finally, survival data suggest a prognostic role of SOX2 expression in the whole series, both for overall and for recurrence-free survival (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0001, respectively). Thus, SOX2 assessment could be of great help to clinicians in informing adjuvant treatments during follow-up.
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