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Association of Immunohistochemically Defined Molecular Subtypes with Clinical Response to Presurgical Chemotherapy in Patients with Advanced Breast Cancer

  • Khokher, Samina (Surgical Division, INMOL Hospital) ;
  • Qureshi, Muhammad Usman (Nauman Associates, University of Health Sciences) ;
  • Mahmood, Saqib (Department of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of Health Sciences) ;
  • Nagi, Abdul Hannan (Pathology Department, University of Health Sciences)
  • Published : 2013.05.30

Abstract

Gene expression profiling (GEP) has identified several molecular subtypes of breast cancer, with different clinico-pathologic features and exhibiting different responses to chemotherapy. However, GEP is expensive and not available in the developing countries where the majority of patients present at advanced stage. The St Gallen Consensus in 2011 proposed use of a simplified, four immunohistochemical (IHC) biomarker panel (ER, PR, HER2, Ki67/Tumor Grade) for molecular classification. The present study was conducted in 75 newly diagnosed patients of breast cancer with large (>5cm) tumors to evaluate the association of IHC surrogate molecular subtype with the clinical response to presurgical chemotherapy, evaluated by the WHO criteria, 3 weeks after the third cycle of 5 flourouracil, adriamycin, cyclophosphamide (FAC regimen). The subtypes of luminal, basal-like and HER2 enriched were found to account for 36.0 % (27/75), 34.7 % (26/75) and 29.3% (22/75) of patients respectively. Ten were luminal A and 14 luminal B (8 HER2 negative and 6HER2 positive). The triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) was most sensitive to chemotherapy with 19% achieving clinical-complete-response (cCR) followed by HER2 enriched (2/22 (9%) cCR), luminal B (1/6 (7%) cCR) and luminal A (0/10 (0%) cCR). Heterogeneity was observed within each subgroup, being most marked in the TNBC although the most responding tumors, 8% developing clinical-progressive-disease. The study supports association of molecular subtypes with response to chemotherapy in patients with advanced breast cancer and the existence of further heterogeneity within subtypes.

Keywords

Breast cancer;molecular subtypes;chemotherapy response;heterogeneity;IHC surrogate

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