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1.  Clinical practice guidelines for the care and treatment of breast cancer: 15. Treatment for women with stage III or locally advanced breast cancer 
Objective
To define the optimal treatment for women with stage III or locally advanced breast cancer (LABC).
Evidence
Systematic review of English-language literature retrieved from MEDLINE (1984 to June 2002) and CANCERLIT (1983 to June 2002). A nonsystematic review of the literature was continued through December 2003.
Recommendations
· The management of LABC requires a combined modality treatment approach involving surgery, radiotherapy and systemic therapy.
Systemic therapy: chemotherapy
Operable tumours
· Patients with operable stage IIIA disease should be offered chemotherapy. They should receive adjuvant chemotherapy following surgery, or primary chemotherapy followed by locoregional management.
· Chemotherapy should contain an anthracycline. Acceptable regimens are 6 cycles of FAC, CAF, CEF or FEC. Taxanes are under intense investigation.
Inoperable tumours
· Patients with stage IIIB or IIIC disease, including those with inflammatory breast cancer and those with isolated ipsilateral internal mammary or supraclavicular lymph-node involvement, should be treated with primary anthracycline-based chemotherapy.
· Acceptable chemotherapy regimens are FAC, CAF, CEF or FEC. Taxanes are under intense investigation.
· Patients with stage IIIB or IIIC disease who respond to primary chemotherapy should be treated until the response plateaus or to a maximum of 6 cycles (minimum 4 cycles). Patients with stage IIIB disease should then undergo definitive surgery and irradiation. The locoregional management of patients with stage IIIC disease who respond to chemotherapy should be individualized. In patients with stage IIIB or IIIC disease who achieve maximum response with fewer than 6 cycles, further adjuvant chemotherapy can be given following surgery and irradiation. Patients whose tumours do not respond to primary chemotherapy can be treated with taxane chemotherapy or can proceed directly to irradiation followed by modified radical mastectomy, if feasible.
Systemic therapy: hormonal therapy
Operable and inoperable tumours
· Tamoxifen for 5 years should be recommended to pre- and postmenopausal women whose tumours are hormone responsive.
Locoregional management
Operable tumours
· Patients with stage IIIA disease should receive both modified radical mastectomy (MRM) and locoregional radiotherapy if feasible. They may be managed with MRM followed by chemotherapy and locoregional radiotherapy, or chemotherapy first followed by MRM and locoregional radiotherapy. Breast-conserving surgery is currently not a standard approach.
· Locoregional radiotherapy should be delivered to the chest wall and to the supraclavicular and axillary nodes. The role of internal mammary irradiation is unclear.
Inoperable tumours
· Patients with stage IIIB disease who respond to chemotherapy should receive surgery plus locoregional radiotherapy.
· The locoregional management of patients with stage IIIC disease who respond to chemotherapy is unclear and should be individualized.
· Patients whose disease remains inoperable following chemotherapy should receive locoregional radiotherapy with subsequent surgery, if feasible.
Validation
The authors' original text was revised by members of the Steering Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer. Subsequently, feedback was provided by 9 oncologists from across Canada. The final document was approved by the steering committee.
Sponsor
The Steering Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer was convened by Health Canada.
Completion date
December 2003.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.1030944
PMCID: PMC359433  PMID: 15023926
2.  Does neoadjuvant chemotherapy increase breast conservation in operable breast cancer: an Egyptian experience 
ecancermedicalscience  2009;3:104.
Introduction:
The role of adjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer is well established, as are its indications. Likewise, the role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer is well established. The use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in operable breast cancer has only recently become of interest to researchers.
Patients and methods:
This study included 34 cases of operable breast cancer that were given four cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the form of FEC100 then subjected to surgery. The surgery done was either breast conserving surgery or modified radical mastectomy. All patients completed the treatment regimen and no patients were excluded from the study. All surgical specimens were studied pathologically for chemotherapy effect.
Results:
An overall objective response was observed in 70.6% of the patients. Seven patients (20.6%) experienced a clinical complete response (cCR), 17 patients (50.0%) had partial response, nine patients (26.5%) had no change of their disease and only one patient had disease progression. Of the seven patients who had a cCR, only four patients (11.8%) had pathologic complete response (pCR), while pCR for the whole group was 14.7%(5/34). Tumour size of more than 2 cm was observed in 28 patients (82.4%) at time of presentation, while tumour size of 2 cm or less was seen in six patients (17.6%) only. After completion of the course of chemotherapy, 23 patients (67.6%) were observed to have tumours of 2 cm or less that allowed for less extensive resections. Twenty-three patients underwent breast conservative surgery (67.6%) while modified radical mastectomy was performed in 11 patients (32.4%).
Conclusion:
The use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in operable breast cancer in this study was associated with tumour and axillary downstaging, which increased the proportion of cases undergoing breast conservation, with acceptable side effects and reasonable cost. During the limited follow-up time of this study no loco regional recurrences were recorded and one distant treatment failure was recorded. Its impact if any on overall or disease-free survival was not addressed in this study. Larger multi-centre randomized studies with a long follow-up are needed to compare the overall and disease-free survival benefit of this treatment modality, especially in different subtypes stratified by pathological response.
doi:10.3332/ecancer.2008.104
PMCID: PMC3223990  PMID: 22275993
3.  Preoperative/Neoadjuvant Therapy in Pancreatic Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Response and Resection Percentages 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000267.
Jörg Kleef and colleagues systematically reviewed studies on neoadjuvant therapy and tumor response, toxicity, resection, and survival percentages in pancreatic cancer and suggest that patients with locally nonresectable tumors should be included in neoadjuvant protocols.
Background
Pancreatic cancer has an extremely poor prognosis and prolonged survival is achieved only by resection with macroscopic tumor clearance. There is a strong rationale for a neoadjuvant approach, since a relevant percentage of pancreatic cancer patients present with non-metastatic but locally advanced disease and microscopic incomplete resections are common. The objective of the present analysis was to systematically review studies concerning the effects of neoadjuvant therapy on tumor response, toxicity, resection, and survival percentages in pancreatic cancer.
Methods and Findings
Trials were identified by searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1966 to December 2009 as well as through reference lists of articles and proceedings of major meetings. Retrospective and prospective studies analyzing neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy of pancreatic cancer patients, followed by re-staging, and surgical exploration/resection were included. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed study quality. Pooled relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using random-effects models. Primary outcome measures were proportions of tumor response categories and percentages of exploration and resection. A total of 111 studies (n = 4,394) including 56 phase I–II trials were analyzed. A median of 31 (interquartile range [IQR] 19–46) patients per study were included. Studies were subdivided into surveys considering initially resectable tumors (group 1) and initially non-resectable (borderline resectable/unresectable) tumors (group 2). Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was given in 96.4% of the studies with the main agents gemcitabine, 5-FU (and oral analogues), mitomycin C, and platinum compounds. Neoadjuvant radiotherapy was applied in 93.7% of the studies with doses ranging from 24 to 63 Gy. Averaged complete/partial response probabilities were 3.6% (95% CI 2%–5.5%)/30.6% (95% CI 20.7%–41.4%) and 4.8% (95% CI 3.5%–6.4%)/30.2% (95% CI 24.5%–36.3%) for groups 1 and 2, respectively; whereas progressive disease fraction was estimated to 20.9% (95% CI 16.9%–25.3%) and 20.8% (95% CI 14.5%–27.8%). In group 1, resectability was estimated to 73.6% (95% CI 65.9%–80.6%) compared to 33.2% (95% CI 25.8%–41.1%) in group 2. Higher resection-associated morbidity and mortality rates were observed in group 2 versus group 1 (26.7%, 95% CI 20.7%–33.3% versus 39.1%, 95% CI 29.5%–49.1%; and 3.9%, 95% CI 2.2%–6% versus 7.1%, 95% CI 5.1%–9.5%). Combination chemotherapies resulted in higher estimated response and resection probabilities for patients with initially non-resectable tumors (“non-resectable tumor patients”) compared to monotherapy. Estimated median survival following resection was 23.3 (range 12–54) mo for group 1 and 20.5 (range 9–62) mo for group 2 patients.
Conclusions
In patients with initially resectable tumors (“resectable tumor patients”), resection frequencies and survival after neoadjuvant therapy are similar to those of patients with primarily resected tumors and adjuvant therapy. Approximately one-third of initially staged non-resectable tumor patients would be expected to have resectable tumors following neoadjuvant therapy, with comparable survival as initially resectable tumor patients. Thus, patients with locally non-resectable tumors should be included in neoadjuvant protocols and subsequently re-evaluated for resection.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. It begins when a cell in the pancreas (an organ lying behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes and hormones such as insulin that controls blood sugar levels) acquires genetic changes that allow it to grow uncontrollably and, sometimes, to spread around the body (metastasize). Because pancreatic cancer rarely causes any symptoms early in its development, it is locally advanced in more than a third of patients and has already metastasized in another half of patients by the time it is diagnosed. Consequently, on average, people die within 5–8 months of a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. At present, the only chance for cure is surgical removal (resection) of the tumor, part of the pancreas, and other nearby digestive organs. This procedure—the Whipple procedure—is only possible in the fifth of patients whose tumor is found when it is small enough to be resectable, and even in these patients, the cure rate associated with surgery is less than 25%, although radiotherapy or chemotherapy after surgery (adjuvant therapy) can be beneficial.
Why Was This Study Done?
For patients whose tumor has metastasized, palliative chemotherapy to slow down tumor growth and to minimize pain is the only treatment option. But, for the many patients whose disease is locally advanced and unresectable at diagnosis, experts think that “neoadjuvant” therapy might be helpful. Neoadjuvant therapy—chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy given before surgery—aims to convert unresectable tumors into resectable tumors by shrinking the visible tumor and removing cancer cells that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Randomized phase III trials—studies in which groups of patients are randomly assigned to different interventions and specific outcomes measured—are the best way to determine whether an intervention has any clinical benefits, but no randomized phase III trials of neoadjuvant therapy for unresectable pancreatic cancer have been undertaken. Therefore, in this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic) and meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of several studies), the researchers analyze data from other types of studies to investigate whether neoadjuvant therapy for pancreatic cancer provides any clinical benefits.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In their systematic review, the researchers identified 111 studies involving 4,394 patients in which the effects of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy on tumor response, tumor resectability, and patient survival had been investigated. They subdivided the studies into two groups: group 1 studies included patients whose tumors were considered resectable on preoperative examination, and group 2 studies included patients whose tumors were borderline resectable or unresectable. In their meta-analysis, the researchers found that similar percentages of the tumors in both groups responded to neoadjuvant therapy by shrinking or regressing and that about a fifth of the tumors in each group grew larger or metastasized during neoadjuvant therapy. In the group 1 studies, three-quarters of the tumors were resectable after neoadjuvant therapy (a decrease in the proportion of tumors that could be treated surgically) whereas in the group 2 studies, a third of the tumors were resectable after neoadjuvant therapy (an increase in the proportion of tumors that could be treated surgically). After resection, the average survival time for group 1 patients was 23.3 months, a similar survival time to that seen in patients treated with surgery and adjuvant therapy. The average survival time for group 2 patients after resection was 20.5 months.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The finding that the average survival time after neoadjuvant therapy and surgery in patients whose tumor was judged resectable before neoadjuvant therapy was similar to that of patients treated with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy after surgery suggests that for patients with resectable tumors, neoadjuvant therapy will not provide any clinical benefit. By contrast, the finding that a third of patients initially judged unresectable were able to undergo resection after neoadjuvant therapy and then had a similar survival rate to patients judged resectable before neoadjuvant treatment strongly suggests that patients presenting with locally advanced/unresectable tumors should be offered neoadjuvant therapy and then re-evaluated for resection. Randomized trials are now needed to confirm this finding and to determine the optimum neoadjuvant therapy for this group of patients.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000267.
The US National Cancer Institute provides information for patients and health professionals about all aspects of pancreatic cancer (in English and Spanish), including a booklet for patients
The American Cancer Society also provides detailed information about pancreatic cancer
The UK National Health Service and Cancer Research UK include information for patients on pancreatic cancer on their Web sites
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources on pancreatic cancer (in English and Spanish)
Pancreatica.org, PancreaticDuct.org, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network give more information to pancreatic cancer patients, their families, and caregivers
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000267
PMCID: PMC2857873  PMID: 20422030
4.  Breast cancer (non-metastatic) 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:0102.
Introduction
Breast cancer affects at least 1 in 10 women in the UK, but most present with primary operable disease, which has an 80% 5-year survival rate overall.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions after breast-conserving surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ? What are the effects of treatments for primary operable breast cancer? What are the effects of interventions in locally advanced breast cancer (stage 3B)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to April 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 83 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adding chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide/methotrexate/fluorouracil and/or anthracycline and/or taxane-based regimens), or hormonal treatment to radiotherapy; adjuvant treatments (aromatase inhibitors, adjuvant anthracycline regimens, tamoxifen); axillary clearance; axillary dissection plus sentinel node dissection; axillary radiotherapy; axillary sampling; combined chemotherapy plus tamoxifen; chemotherapy plus monoclonal antibody (trastuzumab); extensive surgery; high-dose chemotherapy; hormonal treatment; less extensive mastectomy; less than whole-breast radiotherapy plus breast-conserving surgery; multimodal treatment; ovarian ablation; primary chemotherapy; prolonged adjuvant combination chemotherapy; radiotherapy (after breast-conserving surgery, after mastectomy, plus tamoxifen after breast-conserving surgery, to the internal mammary chain, and to the ipsilateral supraclavicular fossa, and total nodal radiotherapy); sentinel node biopsy; and standard chemotherapy regimens.
Key Points
Breast cancer affects at least 1 in 10 women in the UK, but most present with primary operable disease, which has an 80% 5-year survival rate overall.
In women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), radiotherapy reduces local recurrence and invasive carcinoma after breast-conserving surgery. The role of tamoxifen added to radiotherapy for DCIS remains unclear because of conflicting results.
In women with primary operable breast cancer, survival may be increased by full surgical excision, tamoxifen, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, ovarian ablation, or trastuzumab (in women who over-express HER2/neu oncogene). Incomplete excision may increase the risk of local recurrence, but less-extensive mastectomy that excises all local disease is as effective as radical mastectomy at prolonging survival, with better cosmetic results. Axillary clearance (removal of all axillary lymph nodes) achieves local disease control, but has not been shown to increase survival, and can cause arm lymphoedema. Sentinel lymph node biopsy or 4-node sampling may adequately stage the axilla with less morbidity compared with axillary clearance. Adjuvant tamoxifen reduces the risk of recurrence and death in women with oestrogen-positive tumours. Primary chemotherapy may facilitate successful breast-conserving surgery instead of mastectomy. Adjuvant combination chemotherapy improves survival compared with no chemotherapy, with greatest benefit likely with anthracycline-based regimens at standard doses for 4 to 6 months.Radiotherapy decreases recurrence and mortality after breast-conserving surgery. Post-mastectomy radiotherapy for women who are node-positive or at high risk of recurrence decreases recurrence and mortality. Adjuvant aromatase inhibitors improve disease-free survival compared with tamoxifen, but their effect on overall survival is unclear. Adjuvant taxane-based regimens may improve disease-free survival over standard anthracycline-based therapy.
In women with locally advanced breast cancer, radiotherapy may be as effective as surgery or tamoxifen at increasing survival and local disease control. Adding tamoxifen or ovarian ablation to radiotherapy increases survival compared with radiotherapy alone, but adding chemotherapy may not reduce recurrence or mortality compared with radiotherapy alone.We don't know if chemotherapy alone improves survival in women with locally advanced breast cancer as we found few trials.
PMCID: PMC3217212  PMID: 21718560
5.  Breast cancer (non-metastatic) 
Clinical Evidence  2007;2007:0102.
Introduction
Breast cancer affects at least 1 in 10 women in the UK, but most present with primary operable disease, which has an 80% 5-year survival rate overall.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions after breast-conserving surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ? What are the effects of treatments for primary operable breast cancer? What are the effects of interventions in locally advanced breast cancer (stage IIIB)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to February 2006 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 79 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adding chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide/methotrexate/ fluorouracil and/or anthracycline and/or taxane-based regimens), or hormonal treatment to radiotherapy; adjuvant treatments (aromatase inhibitors, adjuvant anthracycline regimens, tamoxifen); axillary clearance; axillary dissection plus sentinel node dissection; axillary radiotherapy; axillary sampling; combined chemotherapy plus tamoxifen; chemotherapy plus monoclonal antibody (trastuzumab); extensive surgery; high-dose chemotherapy; hormonal treatment; less extensive mastectomy; less than whole breast radiotherapy plus breast conserving surgery; multimodal treatment; ovarian ablation; primary chemotherapy; prolonged adjuvant combination chemotherapy; radiotherapy (after breast-conserving surgery, after mastectomy, plus tamoxifen after breast-conserving surgery, to the internal mammary chain, and to the ipsilateral supraclavicular fossa, and total nodal radiotherapy); sentinel node biopsy; and standard chemotherapy regimens.
Key Points
Breast cancer affects at least 1 in 10 women in the UK, but most present with primary operable disease, which has an 80% 5-year survival rate overall.
In women with ductal carcinoma in situ, radiotherapy reduces local recurrence and invasive carcinoma after breast-conserving surgery, but may not improve survival.
In women with primary operable breast cancer, survival may be increased by full surgical excision, tamoxifen, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, ovarian ablation or trastuzumab (in women who overexpress HER2/neu oncogene). Incomplete excision may increase the risk of local recurrence, but less-extensive mastectomy that excises all local disease is as effective as radical mastectomy at prolonging survival, with better cosmetic results. Axillary clearance (removal of all axillary lymph nodes) achieves local disease control, but has not been shown to increase survival, and can cause arm lymphoedema. Sentinel lymph node biopsy or 4-node sampling may adequately stage the axilla with less morbidity compared with axillary clearance. Adjuvant tamoxifen reduces the risk of recurrence and death in women with oestrogen-positive tumours, but adverse effects begin to outweigh benefit after 5 years of treatment. Primary chemotherapy may facilitate successful breast-conserving surgery instead of mastectomy. Adjuvant combination chemotherapy improves survival compared with no chemotherapy, with greatest benefit likely with anthracycline-based regimens at standard doses for 4-6 months.Radiotherapy decreases recurrence and mortality after breast-conserving surgery. Post-mastectomy radiotherapy for women who are node-positive or at high risk of recurrence decreases recurrence and mortality, but may increase mortality in node-negative women. Adjuvant aromatase inhibitors improve disease-free survival compared with tamoxifen, but their effect on overall survival is unclear.Adjuvant taxoid regimens may improve disease-free survival over standard anthracycline-based therapy.
In women with locally advanced breast cancer, radiotherapy may be as effective as surgery or tamoxifen at increasing survival and local disease control. Adding tamoxifen or ovarian ablation to radiotherapy increases survival compared with radiotherapy alone, but adding chemotherapy may not reduce recurrence or mortality compared with radiotherapy alone.Chemotherapy alone, while widely used, does not improve survival in women with locally advanced breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2943780  PMID: 19450345
6.  Impact of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy on Breast Reconstruction 
Cancer  2011;117(13):2833-2841.
BACKGROUND
With advances in oncologic treatment, cosmesis after mastectomy has assumed a pivotal role in patient and provider decision making. Multiple studies have confirmed the safety of both chemotherapy before breast surgery and immediate reconstruction. Little has been written about the effect of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on decisions about reconstruction.
METHODS
The authors identified 665 patients with stage I through III breast cancer who received chemotherapy and underwent mastectomy at Dana-Farber/Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center from 1997 to 2007. By using multivariate logistic regression, reconstruction rates were compared between patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (n = 180) and patients who underwent mastectomy before chemotherapy (n = 485). The rate of postoperative complications after mastectomy was determined for patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy compared with those who did not.
RESULTS
Reconstruction was performed immediately in 44% of patients who did not receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy but in only 23% of those who did. Twenty-one percent of neoadjuvant chemotherapy recipients and 14% of adjuvant-only chemotherapy recipients underwent delayed reconstruction. After controlling for age, receipt of radiotherapy, and disease stage, neoadjuvant recipients were less likely to undergo immediate reconstruction (odds ratio [OR], 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37, 0.87) but were no more likely to undergo delayed reconstruction (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 0.75, 2.20). Surgical complications occurred in 30% of neoadjuvant chemotherapy recipients and in 31% of adjuvant chemotherapy recipients.
CONCLUSIONS
The current results suggest that patients who receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy are less likely to undergo immediate reconstruction and are no more likely to undergo delayed reconstruction than patients who undergo surgery before they receive chemotherapy.
doi:10.1002/cncr.25872
PMCID: PMC3164976  PMID: 21264833
neoadjuvant chemotherapy; breast reconstruction; breast cancer; mastectomy; postoperative complications
7.  Exquisite Sensitivity of TP53 Mutant and Basal Breast Cancers to a Dose-Dense Epirubicin−Cyclophosphamide Regimen 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(3):e90.
Background
In breast cancers, only a minority of patients fully benefit from the different chemotherapy regimens currently in use. Identification of markers that could predict the response to a particular regimen would thus be critically important for patient care. In cell lines or animal models, tumor protein p53 (TP53) plays a critical role in modulating the response to genotoxic drugs. TP53 is activated in response to DNA damage and triggers either apoptosis or cell-cycle arrest, which have opposite effects on cell fate. Yet, studies linking TP53 status and chemotherapy response have so far failed to unambiguously establish this paradigm in patients. Breast cancers with a TP53 mutation were repeatedly shown to have a poor outcome, but whether this reflects poor response to treatment or greater intrinsic aggressiveness of the tumor is unknown.
Methods and Findings
In this study we analyzed 80 noninflammatory breast cancers treated by frontline (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy. Tumor diagnoses were performed on pretreatment biopsies, and the patients then received six cycles of a dose-dense regimen of 75 mg/m2 epirubicin and 1,200 mg/m2 cyclophosphamide, given every 14 days. After completion of chemotherapy, all patients underwent mastectomies, thus allowing for a reliable assessment of chemotherapy response. The pretreatment biopsy samples were used to determine the TP53 status through a highly efficient yeast functional assay and to perform RNA profiling. All 15 complete responses occurred among the 28 TP53-mutant tumors. Furthermore, among the TP53-mutant tumors, nine out of ten of the highly aggressive basal subtypes (defined by basal cytokeratin [KRT] immunohistochemical staining) experienced complete pathological responses, and only TP53 status and basal subtype were independent predictors of a complete response. Expression analysis identified many mutant TP53-associated genes, including CDC20, TTK, CDKN2A, and the stem cell gene PROM1, but failed to identify a transcriptional profile associated with complete responses among TP53 mutant tumors. In patients with unresponsive tumors, mutant TP53 status predicted significantly shorter overall survival. The 15 patients with responsive TP53-mutant tumors, however, had a favorable outcome, suggesting that this chemotherapy regimen can overcome the poor prognosis generally associated with mutant TP53 status.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates that, in noninflammatory breast cancers, TP53 status is a key predictive factor for response to this dose-dense epirubicin–cyclophosphamide regimen and further suggests that the basal subtype is exquisitely sensitive to this association. Given the well-established predictive value of complete responses for long-term survival and the poor prognosis of basal and TP53-mutant tumors treated with other regimens, this chemotherapy could be particularly suited for breast cancer patients with a mutant TP53, particularly those with basal features.
Hugues de The and colleagues report thatTP53 status is a predictive factor for responsiveness in breast cancers to a dose-dense epirubicin-cyclophosphamide chemotherapy regimen, and suggests that this regimen might be well suited for patientsTP53 mutant tumors.
Editors' Summary
Background.
One woman in eight will develop breast cancer during her life. As with other cancers, breast cancer arises when cells accumulate genetic changes (mutations) that allow them to grow uncontrollably and to move around the body. These altered cells are called malignant cells. The normal human breast contains several types of cell, any of which can become malignant. In addition, there is more than one route to malignancy—different sets of genes can be mutated. As a result, breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that cannot be cured with a single type of treatment. Ideally, oncologists would like to know before they start treating a patient which therapeutic approach is going to be successful for that individual. Recently, researchers have begun to identify molecular changes that might eventually allow oncologists to make such rational treatment decisions. For example, laboratory studies in cell lines or animals indicate that the status of a gene called TP53 determines the chemotherapy agents (drugs that preferentially kill rapidly dividing cancer cells) to which cells respond. p53, the protein encoded by TP53, is a tumor suppressor. That is, in normal cells it prevents unregulated growth by controlling the expression of proteins involved in cell division and cell death. Consequently, p53 is often inactivated during cancer development.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although laboratory studies have linked TP53 status to chemotherapy responses, little is known about this relationship in human breast cancers. The clinical studies that have investigated whether TP53 status affects chemotherapy responses have generally found that patients whose tumors contain mutant TP53 have a poorer response to therapy and/or a shorter survival time than those whose tumors contain normal TP53. In this study, the researchers have asked whether TP53 status affects tumor responses to a dose-intense chemotherapy regimen (frequent, high doses of drugs) given to women with advanced noninflammatory breast cancer before surgery. This type of treatment is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy and is used to shrink tumors before surgery.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected breast tumor samples from 80 women before starting six fortnightly cycles of chemotherapy with epirubicin and cyclophosphamide. After this, each woman had her affected breast removed and examined to see whether the chemotherapy had killed the tumor cells. The researchers determined which original tumor samples contained mutated TP53 and used a technique called microarray expression profiling to document gene expression patterns in them. Overall, 28 tumors contained mutated TP53. Strikingly, all 15 tumors that responded completely to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (no tumor cells detectable in the breast tissue after chemotherapy) contained mutated TP53. Nine of these responsive tumors were basal-cell–like breast tumors, a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer; only one basal-cell–like, TP53-mutated tumor did not respond to chemotherapy. Patients whose tumors were unresponsive to the neoadjuvant chemotherapy but contained mutated TP53 tended to die sooner than those whose tumors contained normal TP53 or those with chemotherapy-responsive TP53-mutated tumors. Finally, expression profiling identified changes in the expression of many p53-regulated genes, but did not identify an expression profile in the TP53-mutated tumors unique to those that responded to chemotherapy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that noninflammatory breast tumors containing mutant TP53—in particular, basal-cell–like tumors—are very sensitive to dose-dense epirubicin and cyclophosphamide chemotherapy. Intensive regimens of this type have rarely been used in previous studies, which might explain the apparent contradiction between these results and the generally poor response to chemotherapy of TP53-mutated breast tumors. More tumors now need to be examined to confirm the association between complete response, TP53 status and basal-cell–like tumors. In addition, although complete tumor responses generally predict good overall survival, longer survival studies than those reported here are needed to show that the tumor response to this particular neoadjuvant chemotherapy regimen translates into improved overall survival. If the present results can be confirmed and extended, dose-dense neoadjuvant chemotherapy with epirubicin and cyclophosphamide could considerably improve the outlook for patients with aggressive TP53-mutant, basal-cell–like breast tumors.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040090.
The US National Cancer Institute provides patient and physician information on breast cancer and general information on understanding cancer
Cancer Research UK offers patient information on cancer and breast cancer
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on breast cancer
Emory University's CancerQuest discusses the biology of cancer, including the role of tumor suppressor proteins
Wikipedia has pages on p53 (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040090
PMCID: PMC1831731  PMID: 17388661
8.  Neoadjuvant chemotherapy or primary surgery for stage III/IV ovarian cancer: contribution of diagnostic laparoscopy 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:171.
Background
The aims of this retrospective study were to evaluate laparoscopic triage of patients with advanced ovarian cancer towards primary surgery or neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and to analyze outcome according to the treatment.
Methods
Between January 2001 and December 2006, 55 patients with stage III – IV ovarian cancer underwent diagnostic laparoscopy. Primary surgery was performed when complete cytoreduction was considered feasible, while the other patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (platinum-based combination with taxanes) and interval surgery. All the patients received adjuvant chemotherapy.
Results
Patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (n = 29) had a higher mean body mass index (P = 0.048), higher serum CA 125 levels (P = 0.026), and more metastases (P = 0.045) than patients treated with primary surgery (n = 26). In patients treated with primary surgery, complete cytoreduction and a residual tumour size ≤ 2 cm were obtained in respectively 54% and 77% of cases. Complete cytoreduction was achieved in respectively 100% and 33% of cases when primary surgery was performed by an oncologic gynaecologist and by a non-oncologic gynaecologist (P = 0.002). Interval surgery yielded complete cytoreduction and a residual tumour size ≤ 2 cm in respectively 73% and 85% of cases. With a median follow-up of 24 months (range 7 – 78 months), the survival rates after primary surgery and interval surgery were 61% and 66% respectively.
Conclusion
Diagnostic laparoscopy is useful for identifying patients with stage III/IV ovarian cancer who qualify for primary cytoreduction. Surgeon experience was a determining factor for the success of complete cytoreduction.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-171
PMCID: PMC2701965  PMID: 19500391
9.  Study of Tumour Cellularity in Locally Advanced Breast Carcinoma on Neo-Adjuvant Chemotherapy 
Background: Breast cancer is the most common invasive malignancy which occurs in women worldwide. The advent of neoadjuvant chemotherapy has radically changed the management of locally advanced breast cancer and a complete response is reported to significantly improve disease free survival. Traditionally, clinical response is assessed on basis of tumour size. In this study, an attempt was made to check whether tumour cellularity could be a better prognostic factor and also to check as to what impact the correlation of tumour size with cellularity had on the response assessment in locally advanced breast cancer patients.
Materials and Methods: Thirty seven patients with locally advanced breast cancer, who were treated by neoadjuvant chemotherapy during the period of December 2008 to May 2009, were selected for the study and from their case records, tumour size, clinical response and demographic details were gathered. Tumour cellularity was assessed prior to chemotherapy in core needle biopsy sections and it was matched with that seen in subsequent mastectomy specimens. Tumour size and cellularity were then correlated with the different treatment response groups and they were statistically analyzed by using the SPSS, version 13.0 software.
Results: After neoadjuvant chemotherapy, the tumour size and cellularity were found to be significantly reduced in breast carcinomas (p<0.05, paired t-test). The relative changes in cellularity which were seen were highly variable between individual patients and different clinical response groups, particularly in the partial response and no response categories. The product of cellularity and size dramatically changed the distribution of residual tumour pathology, thus causing a shift towards a complete response.
Conclusion: The current study showed that the product of tumour size and cellularity may be a better prognostic indicator of clinical response in patients with neoadjuvant chemotherapy treated locally advanced breast cancer and that it would enable a new definition for clinical response in the future.
doi:10.7860/JCDR/2014/7594.4283
PMCID: PMC4064915  PMID: 24959451
Tumour cellularity; Locally advanced breast cancer; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
10.  Comparison of adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the management of advanced ovarian cancer: a retrospective study of 574 patients 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:153.
Background
There is a lack of clinical data on the validity of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of ovarian cancer. The aim of this study was to compare the impact of the adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy regimens on the clinical outcomes in patients with advanced ovarian cancer.
Methods
We performed a retrospective analysis of 574 patients with advanced ovarian cancer admitted to four Lithuanian oncogynaecology departments during 1993–2000. The conventional combined treatment of cytoreductive surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy was applied to both the group that underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy (n = 213) and to the control group (n = 361). The selection criterion for neoadjuvant chemotherapy was large extent of the disease. Overall and progression-free survival rates and survival medians were calculated using life tables and the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results
There was no difference in median overall survival between stage III patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and neoadjuvant chemotherapy (25.9 months vs. 29.3 months, p = 0.2508) and stage IV patients (15.4 months vs. 14.9 months, p = 0.6108). Similarly, there was no difference in median progression-free survival between stage III patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and neoadjuvant chemotherapy (15.7 months vs. 17.5 months, p = 0.1299) and stage IV patients (8.7 months vs. 8.2 months, p = 0.1817). There was no difference in the rate of the optimal cytoreductive surgery between patients who underwent the neoadjuvant chemotherapy and patients primarily treated with surgery (n = 134, 63% vs. n = 242, 67%, respectively).
Conclusion
There was no difference in progression-free or overall survival and in the rate of optimal cytoreductive surgery between the neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy groups despite the fact that patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy had a more extensive disease. Multivariate analysis failed to prove that neoadjuvant chemotherapy could be considered as an independent prognostic factor for survival, and the findings need to be investigated in the future prospective randomised studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-153
PMCID: PMC1533845  PMID: 16759398
11.  Comparative study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy before radical hysterectomy and radical surgery alone in stage IB2-IIA bulky cervical cancer 
Objective
To compare the efficacy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with paclitaxel plus platinum followed by radical hysterectomy with radical surgery alone in patients with stage IB2-IIA bulky cervical cancer.
Methods
From November 1999 to September 2007, stage IB2-IIA cervical cancers with tumor diameter >4 cm, as measured by MRI, were managed with two cycles of preoperative paclitaxel and platinum. As a control group, we selected 35 patients treated with radical surgery alone.
Results
There were no significant between group differences in age, tumor size, FIGO stage, level of SCC Ag, histopathologic type and grade. Operating time, estimated blood loss, the number of lymph nodes yielded and the rate of complications were similar in the two groups. In surgical specimens, lymph-vascular space invasion (LVSI), nodal metastasis and parametrial involvement did not differ significantly between the two groups. In the neoadjuvant group, pathologic tumor size was significantly smaller and fewer patients had deep cervical invasion. Radiotherapy, alone and in the form of concurrent chemoradiation, was administered to more patients treated with radical surgery alone (82.9% vs. 52.9%, p=0.006). No recurrence was observed in patients who could avoid adjuvant radiotherapy owing to improved risk factors after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. There were no significant differences in 5-year disease free and overall survival.
Conclusion
As neoadjuvant chemotherapy would improve pathologic prognostic factors, adjuvant radiotherapy can be avoided, without worsening the prognosis, in patients with locally advanced bulky cervical cancer. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy would be improving the quality of life after radical hysterectomy in patients with bulky cervical cancer.
doi:10.3802/jgo.2009.20.1.22
PMCID: PMC2676495  PMID: 19471665
Locally advanced cervical cancer; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Radical hysterectomy
12.  Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced MR Imaging in a Phase Ⅱ Study on Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Combining Rh-Endostatin with Docetaxel and Epirubicin for Locally Advanced Breast Cancer 
Background: Anti-angiogenesis is a promising therapeutic strategy for locally advanced breast cancer. We performed this phase II trial to evaluate the anti-angiogenesis and anti-tumor effect of rh-endostatin combined with docetaxel and epirubicin in patients with locally advanced breast cancer by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging in 70 previously untreated locally advanced breast cancer patients.
Methods: The study population was randomly assigned to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with docetaxel and epirubicin (neoadjuvant chemotherapy group) or neoadjuvant chemotherapy combining rh-endostatin with docetaxel and epirubicin (neoadjuvant chemotherapy+rh-endostatin group). The anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor effects of both regimens were evaluated by serial dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging and microvessel density measurements after final surgery.
Results: The results suggested a higher clinical objective response (90.9% vs. 67.7%, P = 0.021) and greater reductions in tumor size (67.2% vs. 55.9%, P = 0.000), Ki-67 proliferation index (32.79% vs. 12.47%, P = 0.000), tumor signal enhanced ratio (64% vs. 48%, P = 0.018), and Ktrans (67% vs. 39%, P = 0.026) in neoadjuvant chemotherapy+rh-endostatin group than those in neoadjuvant chemotherapy group. In addition, the microvessel density value in the neoadjuvant chemotherapy+rh-endostatin group was significantly lower than in the neoadjuvant chemotherapy group (18.67 ± 6.53 vs. 36.05 ± 9.64, P = 0.000). Moreover, the microvessel density value was significantly correlated with Ktrans after neoadjuvant chemotherapy+rh-endostatin treatment (r=0.88, P = 0.00).
Conclusions: The neoadjuvant chemotherapy+rh-endostatin treatment significantly repressed angiogenesis in locally advanced breast cancer and synergistically enhanced the anti-tumor effect of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Serial dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging data including reductions in tumor size and Ktrans, could provide non-invasive evaluation for chemotherapeutic efficacy and, consequently, optimization of individual chemotherapy for locally advanced breast cancer patients.
doi:10.7150/ijms.5123
PMCID: PMC3547207  PMID: 23329881
breast cancer; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; rh-endostatin; microvessel density; dynamic contrast-enhanced MR imaging
13.  The transcription factor KLF4 as an independent predictive marker for pathologic complete remission in breast cancer neoadjuvant chemotherapy: a case–control study 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:1963-1969.
Background
To identify whether a stem cell biomarker, KLF4, may predict the pathologic tumor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for patients with locally advanced breast cancer.
Methods
Twelve locally advanced breast cancer patients who achieved pathologic complete remission (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy were identified and for each, three non-pCR breast cancer patients – matched for age, clinical tumor–node–metastasis stage, and neoadjuvant chemotherapy cycles – were selected. The relationship between KLF4 expression in the core needle biopsied cancer tissue and patient pCR rate was assessed using univariate and multivariate analysis.
Results
Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that the patients with a histoscore of KLF4 expression >0.18 had a lower pCR rate. Multivariable analysis showed that higher KLF4 expression (odds ratio 0.013; 95% confidence interval 0.013–0.444; P=0.004) was independently correlated with a lower pCR rate after neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Conclusion
KLF4 overexpression was associated with lower pCR in locally advanced breast cancer patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy. This study suggests that KLF4 may serve as a predictor for pCR in patients with breast cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
doi:10.2147/OTT.S68340
PMCID: PMC4216037  PMID: 25368523
locally advanced breast cancer; predictor; stem cell biomarker; pathologic tumor response
14.  Neoadjuvant-intensified treatment for rectal cancer: Time to change? 
AIM: To investigate whether neoadjuvant-intensified radiochemotherapy improved overall and disease-free survival in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.
METHODS: Between January 2007 and December 2011, 80 patients with histologically confirmed rectal adenocarcinoma were enrolled. Tumors were clinically classified as either T3 or T4 and by the N stage based on the presence or absence of positive regional lymph nodes. Patients received intensified combined modality treatment, consisting of neoadjuvant radiation therapy (50.4-54.0 Gy) and infusional chemotherapy (oxaliplatin 50 mg/m2) on the first day of each week, plus five daily continuous infusions of fluorouracil (200 mg/m2 per die) from the first day of radiation therapy until radiotherapy completion. Patients received five or six cycles of oxaliplatin based on performance status, clinical lymph node involvement, and potential risk of a non-sphincter-conserving surgical procedure. Surgery was planned 7 to 9 wk after the end of radiochemotherapy treatment; adjuvant chemotherapy treatment was left to the oncologist’s discretion and was recommended in patients with positive lymph nodes. After treatment, all patients were monitored every three months for the first year and every six months for the subsequent years.
RESULTS: Of the 80 patients enrolled, 75 patients completed the programmed neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy treatment. All patients received the radiotherapy prescribed total dose; five patients suspended chemotherapy indefinitely because of chemotherapy-related toxicity. At least five cycles of oxaliplatin were administered to 73 patients. Treatment was well tolerated with high compliance and a good level of toxicity. Most of the acute toxic effects observed were classified as grades 1-2. Proctitis grade 2 was the most common symptom (63.75%) and the earliest manifestation of acute toxicity. Acute toxicity grades 3-4 was reported in 30% of patients and grade 3 or 4 diarrhoea reported in just three patients (3.75%). Seventy-seven patients underwent surgery; low anterior resection was performed in 52 patients, Miles’ surgery in 11 patients and total mesorectal excision in nine patients. Fifty patients showed tumor downsizing ≥ 50% pathological downstaging in 88.00% of tumors. Out of 75 patients surviving surgery, 67 patients (89.33%) had some form of downstaging after preoperative treatment. A pathological complete response was achieved in 23.75% of patients and a nearly pathologic complete response (stage ypT1ypN0) in six patients. An involvement of the radial margin was never present. During surgery, intra-abdominal metastases were found in only one patient (1.25%). Initially, 45 patients required an abdominoperineal resection due to a tumor distal margin ≤ 5 cm from the anal verge. Of these patients, only seven of them underwent Miles’ surgery and sphincter preservation was guaranteed in 84.50% of patients in this subgroup. Fourteen patients received postoperative chemotherapy. In the full analysis of enrolled cohort, eight of the 80 patients died, with seven deaths related to rectal cancer and one to unrelated causes. Local recurrences were observed in seven patients (8.75%) and distant metastases in 17 cases (21.25%). The five-year rate of overall survival rate was 90.91%. Using a median follow-up time of 28.5 mo, the cumulative incidence of local recurrences was 8.75%, and the overall survival and disease-free survival rates were 90.00% and 70.00%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest oxaliplatin chemotherapy has a beneficial effect on overall survival, likely due to an increase in local tumor control.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i20.3052
PMCID: PMC3662944  PMID: 23716984
Rectal cancer; Neoadjuvant treatment; Intensified radiochemotherapy; Oxaliplatin; Fluorouracil
15.  DEAR1 Is a Dominant Regulator of Acinar Morphogenesis and an Independent Predictor of Local Recurrence-Free Survival in Early-Onset Breast Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(5):e1000068.
Ann Killary and colleagues describe a new gene that is genetically altered in breast tumors, and that may provide a new breast cancer prognostic marker.
Background
Breast cancer in young women tends to have a natural history of aggressive disease for which rates of recurrence are higher than in breast cancers detected later in life. Little is known about the genetic pathways that underlie early-onset breast cancer. Here we report the discovery of DEAR1 (ductal epithelium–associated RING Chromosome 1), a novel gene encoding a member of the TRIM (tripartite motif) subfamily of RING finger proteins, and provide evidence for its role as a dominant regulator of acinar morphogenesis in the mammary gland and as an independent predictor of local recurrence-free survival in early-onset breast cancer.
Methods and Findings
Suppression subtractive hybridization identified DEAR1 as a novel gene mapping to a region of high-frequency loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in a number of histologically diverse human cancers within Chromosome 1p35.1. In the breast epithelium, DEAR1 expression is limited to the ductal and glandular epithelium and is down-regulated in transition to ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an early histologic stage in breast tumorigenesis. DEAR1 missense mutations and homozygous deletion (HD) were discovered in breast cancer cell lines and tumor samples. Introduction of the DEAR1 wild type and not the missense mutant alleles to complement a mutation in a breast cancer cell line, derived from a 36-year-old female with invasive breast cancer, initiated acinar morphogenesis in three-dimensional (3D) basement membrane culture and restored tissue architecture reminiscent of normal acinar structures in the mammary gland in vivo. Stable knockdown of DEAR1 in immortalized human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) recapitulated the growth in 3D culture of breast cancer cell lines containing mutated DEAR1, in that shDEAR1 clones demonstrated disruption of tissue architecture, loss of apical basal polarity, diffuse apoptosis, and failure of lumen formation. Furthermore, immunohistochemical staining of a tissue microarray from a cohort of 123 young female breast cancer patients with a 20-year follow-up indicated that in early-onset breast cancer, DEAR1 expression serves as an independent predictor of local recurrence-free survival and correlates significantly with strong family history of breast cancer and the triple-negative phenotype (ER−, PR−, HER-2−) of breast cancers with poor prognosis.
Conclusions
Our data provide compelling evidence for the genetic alteration and loss of expression of DEAR1 in breast cancer, for the functional role of DEAR1 in the dominant regulation of acinar morphogenesis in 3D culture, and for the potential utility of an immunohistochemical assay for DEAR1 expression as an independent prognostic marker for stratification of early-onset disease.
Editors' Summary
Background
Each year, more than one million women discover that they have breast cancer. This type of cancer begins when cells in the breast that line the milk-producing glands or the tubes that take the milk to the nipples (glandular and ductal epithelial cells, respectively) acquire genetic changes that allow them to grow uncontrollably and to move around the body (metastasize). The uncontrolled division leads to the formation of a lump that can be detected by mammography (a breast X-ray) or by manual breast examination. Breast cancer is treated by surgical removal of the lump or, if the cancer has started to spread, by removal of the whole breast (mastectomy). Surgery is usually followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy. These “adjuvant” therapies are designed to kill any remaining cancer cells but can make patients very ill. Generally speaking, the outlook for women with breast cancer is good. In the US, for example, nearly 90% of affected women are still alive five years after their diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although breast cancer is usually diagnosed in women in their 50s or 60s, some women develop breast cancer much earlier. In these women, the disease is often very aggressive. Compared to older women, young women with breast cancer have a lower overall survival rate and their cancer is more likely to recur locally or to metastasize. It would be useful to be able to recognize those younger women at the greatest risk of cancer recurrence so that they could be offered intensive surveillance and adjuvant therapy; those women at a lower risk could have gentler treatments. To achieve this type of “stratification,” the genetic changes that underlie breast cancer in young women need to be identified. In this study, the researchers discover a gene that is genetically altered (by mutations or deletion) in early-onset breast cancer and then investigate whether its expression can predict outcomes in women with this disease.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used “suppression subtractive hybridization” to identify a new gene in a region of human Chromosome 1 where loss of heterozygosity (LOH; a genetic alteration associated with cancer development) frequently occurs. They called the gene DEAR1 (ductal epithelium-associated RING Chromosome 1) to indicate that it is expressed in ductal and glandular epithelial cells and encodes a “RING finger” protein (specifically, a subtype called a TRIM protein; RING finger proteins such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 have been implicated in early cancer development and in a large fraction of inherited breast cancers). DEAR1 expression was reduced or lost in several ductal carcinomas in situ (a local abnormality that can develop into breast cancer) and advanced breast cancers, the researchers report. Furthermore, many breast tumors carried DEAR1 missense mutations (genetic changes that interfere with the normal function of the DEAR1 protein) or had lost both copies of DEAR1 (the human genome contains two copies of most genes). To determine the function of DEAR1, the researchers replaced a normal copy of DEAR1 into a breast cancer cell that had a mutation in DEAR1. They then examined the growth of these genetically manipulated cells in special three-dimensional cultures. The breast cancer cells without DEAR1 grew rapidly without an organized structure while the breast cancer cells containing the introduced copy of DEAR1 formed structures that resembled normal breast acini (sac-like structures that secrete milk). In normal human mammary epithelial cells, the researchers silenced DEAR1 expression and also showed that without DEAR1, the normal mammary cells lost their ability to form proper acini. Finally, the researchers report that DEAR1 expression (detected “immunohistochemically”) was frequently lost in women who had had early-onset breast cancer and that the loss of DEAR1 expression correlated with reduced local recurrence-free survival, a strong family history of breast cancer and with a breast cancer subtype that has a poor outcome.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that genetic alteration and loss of expression of DEAR1 are common in breast cancer. Although laboratory experiments may not necessarily reflect what happens in people, the results from the three-dimensional culture of breast epithelial cells suggest that DEAR1 may regulate the normal acinar structure of the breast. Consequently, loss of DEAR1 expression could be an early event in breast cancer development. Most importantly, the correlation between DEAR1 expression and both local recurrence in early-onset breast cancer and a breast cancer subtype with a poor outcome suggests that it might be possible to use DEAR1 expression to identify women with early-onset breast cancer who have an increased risk of local recurrence so that they get the most appropriate treatment for their cancer.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000068.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Senthil Muthuswamy
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of breast cancer, including information on genetic alterations in breast cancer (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia provides information for patients about breast cancer; MedlinePlus also provides links to many other breast cancer resources (in English and Spanish)
The UK charities Cancerbackup (now merged with MacMillan Cancer Support) and Cancer Research UK also provide detailed information about breast cancer
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000068
PMCID: PMC2673042  PMID: 19536326
16.  HER-2, p53, p21 and hormonal receptors proteins expression as predictive factors of response and prognosis in locally advanced breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant docetaxel plus epirubicin combination 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:36.
Background
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy has been considered the standard care in locally advanced breast cancer. However, about 20% of the patients do not benefit from this clinical treatment and, predictive factors of response were not defined yet. This study was designed to evaluate the importance of biological markers to predict response and prognosis in stage II and III breast cancer patients treated with taxane and anthracycline combination as neoadjuvant setting.
Methods
Sixty patients received preoperative docetaxel (75 mg/m2) in combination with epirubicin (50 mg/m2) in i.v. infusion in D1 every 3 weeks after incisional biopsy. They received adjuvant chemotherapy with CMF or FEC, attaining axillary status following definitive breast surgery. Clinical and pathologic response rates were measured after preoperative therapy. We evaluated the response rate to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and the prognostic significance of clinicopathological and immunohistochemical parameters (ER, PR, p51, p21 and HER-2 protein expression). The median patient age was 50.5 years with a median follow up time 48 months after the time of diagnosis.
Results
Preoperative treatment achieved clinical response in 76.6% of patients and complete pathologic response in 5%. The clinical, pathological and immunohistochemical parameters were not able to predict response to therapy and, only HER2 protein overexpression was associated with a decrease in disease free and overall survival (P = 0.0007 and P = 0.003) as shown by multivariate analysis.
Conclusion
Immunohistochemical phenotypes were not able to predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Clinical response is inversely correlated with a risk of death in patients submitted to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and HER2 overexpression is the major prognostic factor in stage II and III breast cancer patients treated with a neoadjuvant docetaxel and epirubicin combination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-36
PMCID: PMC1820790  PMID: 17324279
17.  Young Women with Locally Advanced Breast Cancer Who Achieve Breast Conservation after Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Have a Low Local Recurrence Rate 
The American surgeon  2011;77(7):850-855.
Women with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) who are breast conservation (BCT) candidates after neoadjuvant chemotherapy have the best long-term outcome and low local–regional recurrence (LRR) rates. However, young women are thought to have a higher risk of LRR based on historical data. This study sought to evaluate LRR rates in young women who undergo BCT after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We identified 122 women aged 45 years or younger with American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Stage II to III breast cancer, excluding T4d, treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy from 1991 to 2007 from a prospective, Institutional Review Board-approved, single-institution database. Data were analyzed using Fisher eExact test, Wilcoxon tests, and the Kaplan-Meier method. Median follow-up was 6.4 years. Fifty-four (44%) patients had BCT and 68 (56%) mastectomy. Forty-six per cent were estrogen receptor-positivity and 28 per cent overexpressed Her2. Mean pretreatment T size was 5.6 cm in the BCT group and 6.7 cm in the mastectomy group (P = 0.04). LRR rates were no different after BCT compared with mastectomy (13 vs 18%, P = 0.6). Higher posttreatment N stage (P <0.001) and AJCC stage (P = 0.008) were associated with LRR but not pretreatment staging. Disease-free survival was better for patients achieving BCT, with 5-year disease-free survival rates of 82 per cent (95% CI, 69 to 90%) compared with 58 per cent (95% CI, 45 to 69%) for mastectomy (P = 0.03). Young women with LABC who undergo BCT after neoadjuvant chemotherapy appear to have similar LRR rates compared with those with mastectomy. This suggests that neoadjuvant chemotherapy may identify young women for whom BCT may have an acceptable risk of LRR.
PMCID: PMC4167782  PMID: 21944346
18.  Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Is Associated with Improved Survival Compared with Adjuvant Chemotherapy in Patients with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Only after Complete Pathologic Response 
Annals of surgical oncology  2011;19(1):253-258.
Introduction
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive subtype of breast cancer that is known to be chemosensitive. In patients with TNBC, we sought to compare survival outcomes between patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy, with and without complete pathologic response (pCR), and those receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.
Methods
We performed a retrospective chart review and identified 385 patients with stage I–III TNBC who were treated with neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy between 2000 and 2008. Patients were divided according to receipt of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with pCR, neoadjuvant chemotherapy without pCR, and adjuvant chemotherapy. Data were compared using Fisher’s exact test and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Kaplan–Meier curves were generated.
Results
Of 385 patients, 151 (39%) received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and 234 (61%) received adjuvant chemotherapy. Twenty-six (17%) of those patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy had pCR. After controlling for covariates associated with survival in unadjusted tests, patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy with residual tumor had significantly worse survival compared with patients receiving adjuvant therapy [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.51, P = 0.007] and a trend towards worse survival compared with patients receiving neoadjuvant therapy with pCR (HR = 0.19, P = 0.10).
Conclusions
Although previous clinical trials have not demonstrated a survival difference between patients receiving neoadjuvant versus adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, our study suggests an overall survival benefit in patients with pCR following neoadjuvant chemotherapy compared with patients receiving adjuvant therapy. It is clear that a prospective study needs to be carried out to better elucidate the timing of chemotherapy in patients with TNBC.
doi:10.1245/s10434-011-1877-y
PMCID: PMC3892697  PMID: 21725686
19.  Outcome of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer: A tertiary care centre experience 
Background:
Introduction of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) has dramatically changed the management of locally advanced breast cancer (LABC). However, very few randomized trials of NACT have been carried out specifically in LABC patients in our country. In this retrospective analysis, we presented our experience with NACT in LABC patients.
Materials and Methods:
Medical records of 148 patients of stage III LABC patients treated with NACT, followed by surgery and radiotherapy from January 2006 to December 2010 were reviewed. Clinical and pathological responses to different chemotherapy regimens were assessed according to World Health Organization criteria. Various factors influencing response to NACT and clinical outcome were identified and analyzed.
Results:
A total of 90 (60.8%) patients received anthracycline-based chemotherapy and 52 (35.1%) patients received mixed anthracycline and taxane-based chemotherapy.119 patients (80.4%) responded to NACT either in the form of complete or partial response (PR). Complete response was seen in 27 (18.2%) patients and 92 (62.2%) patients showed PR after NACT. Pathological complete response was seen in 24 (16.2%) patients-. At a median follow-up period of 44 months 36 patients (24.3%) developed relapse of which six patients developed locoregional recurrence, while 28 (18.9%) patients developed distant metastasis. Nodal status, response to chemotherapy, pathological tumor size <3 cm and extracapsular extension (ECE) came out to be important prognostic factors in this study.
Conclusion:
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a reasonable alternative to upfront surgery in the management of LABC. Clinicopathological variables such as nodal status, response to chemotherapy, pathological tumor size and presence of ECE had significant impact on disease free survival.
doi:10.4103/0971-5851.142038
PMCID: PMC4202618  PMID: 25336793
Locally advanced breast cancer; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; radiotherapy
20.  Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 expression in breast cancer is associated with stage, triple negativity, and outcome to neoadjuvant chemotherapy 
Studies have shown that ALDH1A1 expression in the breast is associated with worse clinical outcome. ALDH1A1 inactivates cyclophosphamide, which is an integral agent in breast cancer chemotherapy regimens. The purposes of this study were to verify these results, to correlate ALDH1A1 expression with clinical outcome in patients treated with cyclophosphamide as part of the chemotherapy (adjuvant or neoadjuvant), and to evaluate ALDH1A1 as a useful marker to predict the clinical outcome of breast cancer subsets. A total of 513 primary breast cancers were studied. Tissue microarrays of the studied cases were stained with ALDH1A1. Key clinicopathological information was obtained. Disease-free survival and overall survival were calculated. Patients with neoadjuvant therapy who had substantial residual cancer burden (RCB) were included in the study. Fisher's exact test and Kaplan–Meier methods were used for statistical analysis. ALDH1A1 was expressed in 53 (10%) patients, with a higher frequency in triple negative, followed by HER2+, and finally hormonal receptor +/HER2− (P<0.0001). Tumors with advanced stage, node-positive, or larger tumor size were correlated with ALDH1A1 expression (P=0.006, P<0.0001, and P=0.05, respectively). ALDH1A1 expression was also correlated with worse disease-free survival (P<0.006) and overall survival (P<0.01) in patients who were treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In all, 8 of 22 (36%) received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and died of disease-expressed ALDH1A1 (P=0.008). Similarly, 8 of 23 (35%) who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and had tumor recurrence expressed this marker (P=0.002). The risk of recurrence was fivefold greater than negative ALDH1A1 tumors. The risk of recurrence became 11-fold greater when cyclophosphamide but not trastuzumab was part of the regimen. Our results are consistent with previous studies. Moreover, we found that ALDH1A1 could be a useful marker to predict worse clinical outcome after chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting with substantial RCB. However, a larger cohort is required to verify our results.
doi:10.1038/modpathol.2011.172
PMCID: PMC3426278  PMID: 22080062
ALDH1A1; breast cancer; neoadjuvant
21.  Association between Pathological Complete Response and Outcome Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Locally Advanced Breast Cancer Patients 
Journal of Breast Cancer  2014;17(4):376-385.
Purpose
We aimed to determine the rate of pathological complete response (pCR), clinicopathological factors associated with pCR, and clinical outcomes following neoadjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer.
Methods
Medical records of patients who had undergone neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer between January 2007 and September 2011 were retrospectively reviewed, and the pCR rates were calculated according to three sets of criteria: the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), the MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), and the German Breast Group (GBG). Tumors were classified as luminal A like, luminal B like, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), or triple-negative. pCR and clinical outcome, including overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) rates were analyzed at the median follow-up of 54.2 months.
Results
Of a total of 179 patients who had received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, 167 patients (93.3%) had locally advanced breast cancer and 12 patients (6.7%) had early-stage breast cancer. The majority of patients (152 patients, 89.4%) received anthracycline-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The objective clinical response rate was 61.5%, comprising clinical partial response in 5.5% and clinical complete response in 3.9% of patients. Twenty-one (11.7%), 20 (11.2%), and 17 patients (9.5%) achieved pCR according to NSABP, MDACC, and GBG definitions, respectively. pCR rates, as defined by NSABP, according to breast cancer subtype were 4.4%, 9.7%, 24.2%, and 19.2% in luminal A like, luminal B like, HER2, and triple-negative subtypes, respectively. Patients who achieved pCR had significantly better DFS (5-year DFS rates, 80% vs. 53%, p=0.030) and OS (5-year OS rates, 86% vs. 54%, p=0.042) than those who did not.
Conclusion
The pCR rate following neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer in Thai women attending our institution was 11.7%; pCR was more frequently observed in HER2 and triple-negative breast tumor subtypes. Patients who achieved pCR had significantly improved survival.
doi:10.4048/jbc.2014.17.4.376
PMCID: PMC4278058  PMID: 25548587
Antineoplastic combined chemotherapy protocols; Breast neoplasms; Neoadjuvant therapy; Surgery; Treatment outcome
22.  Neoadjuvant chemotherapy prior to preoperative chemoradiation or radiation in rectal cancer: should we be more cautious? 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(3):363-371.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) is a term originally used to describe the administration of chemotherapy preoperatively before surgery. The original rationale for administering NACT or so-called induction chemotherapy to shrink or downstage a locally advanced tumour, and thereby facilitate more effective local treatment with surgery or radiotherapy, has been extended with the introduction of more effective combinations of chemotherapy to include reducing the risks of metastatic disease. It seems logical that survival could be lengthened, or organ preservation rates increased in resectable tumours by NACT. In rectal cancer NACT is being increasingly used in locally advanced and nonmetastatic unresectable tumours. Randomised studies in advanced colorectal cancer show high response rates to combination cytotoxic therapy. This evidence of efficacy coupled with the introduction of novel molecular targeted therapies (such as Bevacizumab and Cetuximab), and long waiting times for radiotherapy have rekindled an interest in delivering NACT in locally advanced rectal cancer. In contrast, this enthusiasm is currently waning in other sites such as head and neck and nasopharynx cancer where traditionally NACT has been used. So, is NACT in rectal cancer a real advance or just history repeating itself? In this review, we aimed to explore the advantages and disadvantages of the separate approaches of neoadjuvant, concurrent and consolidation chemotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer, drawing on theoretical principles, preclinical studies and clinical experience both in rectal cancer and other disease sites. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy may improve outcome in terms of disease-free or overall survival in selected groups in some disease sites, but this strategy has not been shown to be associated with better outcomes than postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy. In particular, there is insufficient data in rectal cancer. The evidence for benefit is strongest when NACT is administered before surgical resection. In contrast, the data in favour of NACT before radiation or chemoradiation (CRT) is inconclusive, despite the suggestion that response to induction chemotherapy can predict response to subsequent radiotherapy. The observation that spectacular responses to chemotherapy before radical radiotherapy did not result in improved survival, was noted 25 years ago. However, multiple trials in head and neck cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer, small-cell lung cancer and cervical cancer do not support the routine use of NACT either as an alternative, or as additional benefit to CRT. The addition of NACT does not appear to enhance local control over concurrent CRT or radiotherapy alone. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy before CRT or radiation should be used with caution, and only in the context of clinical trials. The evidence base suggests that concurrent CRT with early positioning of radiotherapy appears the best option for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer and in all disease sites where radiation is the primary local therapy.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602960
PMCID: PMC2361136  PMID: 16465172
rectal cancer; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; chemoradiation
23.  A Six-Gene Signature Predicts Survival of Patients with Localized Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(7):e1000307.
Jen Jen Yeh and colleagues developed and validated a six-gene signature in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma that may be used to better stage the disease in these patients and assist in treatment decisions.
Background
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains a lethal disease. For patients with localized PDAC, surgery is the best option, but with a median survival of less than 2 years and a difficult and prolonged postoperative course for most, there is an urgent need to better identify patients who have the most aggressive disease.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed the gene expression profiles of primary tumors from patients with localized compared to metastatic disease and identified a six-gene signature associated with metastatic disease. We evaluated the prognostic potential of this signature in a training set of 34 patients with localized and resected PDAC and selected a cut-point associated with outcome using X-tile. We then applied this cut-point to an independent test set of 67 patients with localized and resected PDAC and found that our signature was independently predictive of survival and superior to established clinical prognostic factors such as grade, tumor size, and nodal status, with a hazard ratio of 4.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7–10.0). Patients defined to be high-risk patients by the six-gene signature had a 1-year survival rate of 55% compared to 91% in the low-risk group.
Conclusions
Our six-gene signature may be used to better stage PDAC patients and assist in the difficult treatment decisions of surgery and to select patients whose tumor biology may benefit most from neoadjuvant therapy. The use of this six-gene signature should be investigated in prospective patient cohorts, and if confirmed, in future PDAC clinical trials, its potential as a biomarker should be investigated. Genes in this signature, or the pathways that they fall into, may represent new therapeutic targets.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Pancreatic cancer kills nearly a quarter of a million people every year. It begins when a cell in the pancreas (an organ lying behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes and hormones such as insulin, which controls blood sugar levels) acquires genetic changes that allow it to grow uncontrollably and to spread around the body (metastasize). Nearly all pancreatic cancers are “pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas” (PDACs)—tumors that start in the cells that line the tubes in the pancreas that take digestive juices to the gut. Because PDAC rarely causes any symptoms early in its development, it has already metastasized in about half of patients before it is diagnosed. Consequently, the average survival time after a diagnosis of PDAC is only 5–8 months. At present, the only chance for cure is surgical removal (resection) of the tumor, part of the pancreas, and other nearby digestive organs. The operation that is needed for the majority of patients—the Whipple procedure—is only possible in the fifth of patients whose tumor is found when it is small enough to be resectable but even with postoperative chemotherapy, these patients only live for 23 months after surgery on average, possibly because they have micrometastases at the time of their operation.
Why Was This Study Done?
Despite this poor overall outcome, about a quarter of patients with resectable PDAC survive for more than 5 years after surgery. Might some patients, therefore, have a less aggressive form of PDAC determined by the biology of the primary (original) tumor? If this is the case, it would be useful to be able to stratify patients according to the aggressiveness of their disease so that patients with very aggressive disease could be given chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) to kill any micrometastases. At present neoadjuvant therapy is given to patients with locally advanced, unresectable tumors. In this study, the researchers compare gene expression patterns in primary tumor samples collected from patients with localized PDAC and from patients with metastatic PDAC between 1999 and 2007 to try to identify molecular markers that distinguish between more and less aggressive PDACs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified a six-gene signature that was associated with metastatic disease using a molecular biology approach called microarray hybridization and a statistical method called significance analysis of microarrays to analyze gene expression patterns in primary tumor samples from 15 patients with localized PDAC and 15 patients with metastatic disease. Next, they used a training set of tumor samples from another 34 patients with localized and resected PDAC, microarray hybridization, and a graphical method called X-tile to select a combination of expression levels of the six genes that discriminated optimally between high-risk (aggressive) and low-risk (less aggressive) tumors on the basis of patient survival (a “cut-point”). When the researchers applied this cut-point to an independent set of 67 tumor samples from patients with localized and resected PDAC, they found that 42 patients had high-risk tumors. These patients had an average survival time of 15 months; 55% of them were alive a year after surgery. The remaining 25 patients, who had low-risk tumors, had an average survival time of 49 months and 91% of them were alive a year after resection.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings identify a six-gene signature that can predict outcomes in patients with localized, resectable PDAC better than, and independently of, established clinical markers of outcome. If the predictive ability of this signature can be confirmed in additional patients, it could be used to help patients make decisions about their treatment. For example, a patient wondering whether to risk the Whipple procedure (2%–6% of patients die during this operation and more than 50% have serious postoperative complications), the knowledge that their tumor was low risk might help them decide to have the operation. Conversely, a patient in poor health with a high-risk tumor might decide to spare themselves the trauma of major surgery. The six-gene signature might also help clinicians decide which patients would benefit most from neoadjuvant therapy. Finally, the genes in this signature, or the biological pathways in which they participate, might represent new therapeutic targets for the treatment of PDAC.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000307.
The US National Cancer Institute provides information for patients and health professionals about all aspects of pancreatic cancer (in English and Spanish), including a booklet for patients
The American Cancer Society also provides detailed information about pancreatic cancer
The UK National Health Service and Cancer Research UK include information for patients on pancreatic cancer on their Web sites
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources on pancreatic cancer (in English and Spanish)
Cure Pancreatic Cancer provides information about scientific and medical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is a US organization that supports research, patient support, community outreach, and advocacy for a cure for pancreatic cancer
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000307
PMCID: PMC2903589  PMID: 20644708
24.  Residual cancer burden in locally advanced breast cancer: a superior tool 
Current Oncology  2008;15(6):271-278.
Objectives
Locally advanced breast cancer (labc) poses a difficult clinical challenge with an overall poor long-term prognosis. The strength of the association between tumour characteristics, treatment response, and outcome is not well defined. In the present study, we attempted to gain further insight into labc by reviewing tumour characteristics of patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and by studying the association of those characteristics with outcome. We calculated the residual cancer burden (rcb) score obtained at surgery and attempted to study its correlation with event-free survival (efs) and overall survival (os).
Methods
We studied patients diagnosed primarily with labc (n = 45). Pathologic and clinical responses were determined. Pathology slides were reviewed.
Results
Of the 45 study patients, 9% had stage iib disease; 29%, stage iiia; 51%, stage iiib; and 11%, stage iiic. Inflammatory breast cancer (ibc) was found in 16%. Pathologic complete response (pcr) was achieved in 22% of all patients. None of the patients with ibc achieved pcr. Patients with estrogen receptor–negative (er−)/progesterone receptor–negative (pr−) tumours were more likely to achieve pcr than were those with er+/pr+ tumours. Among patients with tumours that overexpressed human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (her2/neu), 17% achieved pcr as compared with 25% of patients with non-overexpressing tumours; only 1 patient had received trastuzumab. The rcb scores were calculated in 32 patients and ranged between 0 and 4.6.
Conclusions
The present study examined practical issues related to the classification and management of labc and ibc. The rcb, defined from routine pathology materials, was easily quantifiable. It appears to be a better predictor than pcr of outcome following neoadjuvant chemotherapy in labc. Higher rcb scores were associated with lower efs and a lower rate of os. A continual quest for reliable predictive and correlative prognostic markers, and for better surrogate endpoints for outcome, is essential to advance our understanding of labc and to improve treatment outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2601022  PMID: 19079627
Breast cancer; residual disease; pathology; endpoints; locally advanced disease
25.  Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer 
Executive Summary
In February 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on evidence-based reviews of published literature surrounding three pharmacogenomic tests. This project came about when Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) asked MAS to provide evidence-based analyses on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three oncology pharmacogenomic tests currently in use in Ontario.
Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these technologies. These have been completed in conjunction with internal and external stakeholders, including a Provincial Expert Panel on Pharmacogenomics (PEPP). Within the PEPP, subgroup committees were developed for each disease area. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed by the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative (THETA) and is summarized within the reports.
The following reports can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) Testing for Prediction of Response to EGFR-Targeting Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) Drugs in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Ecopnomic Analysis
K-RAS testing in Treatment Decisions for Advanced Colorectal Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Objective
To review and synthesize the available evidence regarding the laboratory performance, prognostic value, and predictive value of Oncotype-DX for the target population.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
The target population of this review is women with newly diagnosed early stage (stage I–IIIa) invasive breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor (ER) positive and/or progesterone-receptor (PR) positive. Much of this review, however, is relevant for women with early stage (I and II) invasive breast cancer that is specifically ER positive, lymph node (LN) negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) negative. This refined population represents an estimated incident population of 3,315 new breast cancers in Ontario (according to 2007 data). Currently it is estimated that only 15% of these women will develop a distant metastasis at 10 years; however, a far great proportion currently receive adjuvant chemotherapy, suggesting that more women are being treated with chemotherapy than can benefit. There is therefore a need to develop better prognostic and predictive tools to improve the selection of women that may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.
Technology of Concern
The Oncotype-DX Breast Cancer Assay (Genomic Health, Redwood City, CA) quantifies gene expression for 21 genes in breast cancer tissue by performing reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumour blocks that are obtained during initial surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy, or core biopsy) of women with early breast cancer that is newly diagnosed. The panel of 21 genes include genes associated with tumour proliferation and invasion, as well as other genes related to HER-2/neu expression, ER expression, and progesterone receptor (PR) expression.
Research Questions
What is the laboratory performance of Oncotype-DX?
How reliable is Oncotype-DX (i.e., how repeatable and reproducible is Oncotype-DX)?
How often does Oncotype-DX fail to give a useable result?
What is the prognostic value of Oncotype-DX?*
Is Oncotype-DX recurrence score associated with the risk of distant recurrence or death due to any cause in women with early breast cancer receiving tamoxifen?
What is the predictive value of Oncotype-DX?*
Does Oncoytpe-DX recurrence score predict significant benefit in terms of improvements in 10-year distant recurrence or death due to any cause for women receiving tamoxifen plus chemotherapy in comparison to women receiving tamoxifen alone?
How does Oncotype-DX compare to other known predictors of risk such as Adjuvant! Online?
How does Oncotype-DX impact patient quality of life and clinical/patient decision-making?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on March 19th, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1st, 2006 to March 19th, 2010. A starting search date of January 1st, 2006 was because a comprehensive systematic review of Oncotype-DX was identified in preliminary literature searching. This systematic review, by Marchionni et al. (2008), included literature up to January 1st, 2007. All studies identified in the review by Marchionni et al. as well as those identified in updated literature searching were used to form the evidentiary base of this review. The quality of the overall body of evidence was identified as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
Any observational trial, controlled clinical trial, randomized controlled trial (RCT), meta-analysis or systematic review that reported on the laboratory performance, prognostic value and/or predictive value of Oncotype-DX testing, or other outcome relevant to the Key Questions, specific to the target population was included.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies that did not report original data or original data analysis,
Studies published in a language other than English,
Studies reported only in abstract or as poster presentations (such publications were not sought nor included in this review since the MAS does not generally consider evidence that is not subject to peer review nor does the MAS consider evidence that lacks detailed description of methodology).
Outcomes of Interest
Outcomes of interest varied depending on the Key Question. For the Key Questions of prognostic and predictive value (Key Questions #2 and #3), the prospectively defined primary outcome was risk of 10-year distant recurrence. The prospectively defined secondary outcome was 10-year death due to any cause (i.e., overall survival). All additional outcomes such as risk of locoregional recurrence or disease-free survival (DFS) were not prospectively determined for this review but were reported as presented in included trials; these outcomes are referenced as tertiary outcomes in this review. Outcomes for other Key Questions (i.e., Key Questions #1, #4 and #5) were not prospectively defined due to the variability in endpoints relevant for these questions.
Summary of Findings
A total of 26 studies were included. Of these 26 studies, only five studies were relevant to the primary questions of this review (Key Questions #2 and #3). The following conclusions were drawn from the entire body of evidence:
There is a lack of external validation to support the reliability of Oncotype-DX; however, the current available evidence derived from internal industry validation studies suggests that Oncotype-DX is reliable (i.e., Oncotype-DX is repeatable and reproducible).
Current available evidence suggests a moderate failure rate of Oncotype-DX testing; however, the failure rate observed across clinical trials included in this review is likely inflated; the current Ontario experience suggests an acceptably lower rate of test failure.
In women with newly diagnosed early breast cancer (stage I–II) that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive and lymph-node negative:
There is low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has prognostic value in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen or anastrozole (the latter for postmenopausal women only),
There is very low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX can predict which women will benefit from adjuvant CMF/MF chemotherapy in women being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
In postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed early breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive and lymph-node positive:
There is low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has limited prognostic value in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen or anastrozole,
There is very low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has limited predictive value for predicting which women will benefit from adjuvant CAF chemotherapy in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
There are methodological and statistical limitations that affect both the generalizability of the current available evidence, as well as the magnitude and statistical strength of the observed effect sizes; in particular:
Of the major predictive trials, Oncotype-DX scores were only produced for a small subset of women (<40% of the original randomized population) potentially disabling the effects of treatment randomization and opening the possibility of selection bias;
Data is not specific to HER-2/neu-negative women;
There were limitations with multivariate statistical analyses.
Additional trials of observational design may provide further validation of the prognostic and predictive value of Oncotype-DX; however, it is unlikely that prospective or randomized data will become available in the near future due to ethical, time and resource considerations.
There is currently insufficient evidence investigating how Oncoytpe-DX compares to other known prognostic estimators of risk, such as Adjuvant! Online, and there is insufficient evidence investigating how Oncotype-DX would impact clinician/patient decision-making in a setting generalizable to Ontario.
PMCID: PMC3382301  PMID: 23074401

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