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1.  Role of Age and Health in Treatment Recommendations for Older Adults With Breast Cancer: The Perspective of Oncologists and Primary Care Providers 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(33):5386-5392.
To determine the impact of age and health status on adjuvant treatment recommendations for older patients with breast cancer from the perspective of medical oncologists and primary care physicians with geriatric expertise.
Patients and Methods
One hundred fifty-one oncologists and 158 primary care physicians with geriatric expertise participated in an online survey. The survey described hypothetical patients of varying ages (70, 75, 80, and 85 years) and health status (good, average, and poor) who had node-positive, hormone receptor–positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2)/neu–negative; and hormone receptor–negative, HER-2/neu–positive breast cancers. The effects of patient age and health status on the survey participants’ adjuvant treatment recommendations were examined using generalized estimation equation methods.
The majority of both oncologists and primary care physicians recommended some form of adjuvant therapy for patients of all ages (70, 75, 80, and 85 years) and health status. Both oncologists and primary care providers were less likely to recommend adjuvant treatment as a patient's age increased or health status declined (P < .0001). There were no significant differences in treatment recommendations among primary care physicians and oncologists for patients with hormone receptor–negative, HER-2/neu–positive tumors (P = .54). However, primary care providers were more likely than oncologists to recommend no adjuvant treatment for patients age 75 years or older with hormone receptor–positive, HER-2/neu–negative tumors (P < .01).
Age and health status influence oncologists’ and primary care providers’ adjuvant treatment recommendations. Evidence-based guidelines for breast cancer treatment in older adults taking into account age and health status are needed.
PMCID: PMC2651077  PMID: 18955446
2.  US Insurance Program's Experience With a Multigene Assay for Early-Stage Breast Cancer 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2011;7(3 Suppl):e38s-e45s.
This study presents Humana's experience with a multigene breast cancer assay and provides an analysis of the clinical utility and economics of this technology.
National guidelines recommend a 21-gene recurrence score (RS) to aid in adjuvant treatment decision in patients with estrogen receptor (ER) –positive, lymph node (LN) –negative early-stage breast cancer (ESBC). This study was performed to assess the economic implication of the assay in community practices from the perspective of a US payer.
The study analyzed 952 women with ESBC enrolled with Humana (Louisville, KY) who were tested with the 21-gene RS between June 2006 and June 2010. The proportion of women classified by the assay according to RS risk category, use, and costs of chemotherapy regimens and supportive care, and costs of adverse events were obtained from Humana. We adopted a validated Markov model to compute the cost implications of RS for a representative patient. The probability of risk of recurrence, the chemotherapy benefit, and the decision impact of RS were derived from published studies.
Two hundred fifty-five patients within the tested population received adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered to 10% of women at low risk, 36% of women at intermediate risk, and 72% of women at high risk of recurrence. On the basis of a meta-analysis in the reduction of chemotherapy after RS, the model estimated an average test saving of $1,160 per patient. The immediate direct savings for chemotherapy drugs, supportive care, and management of adverse events were $1,885, $2,578, and $472, respectively. Prevention of recurrence through appropriate treatment of patients at high risk resulted in additional savings of $199.
The adoption of the 21-gene RS led to targeted management of women with ER-positive, LN-negative ESBC and consequently directed savings to the payer.
PMCID: PMC3092466  PMID: 21886510
3.  The Effect of Oncotype DX Recurrence Score on Treatment Recommendations for Patients with Estrogen Receptor–Positive Early Stage Breast Cancer and Correlation with Estimation of Recurrence Risk by Breast Cancer Specialists 
The Oncologist  2011;16(11):1520-1526.
The Oncotype DX assay predicts likelihood of distant recurrence and improves patient selection for adjuvant chemotherapy in estrogen receptor–positive early stage breast cancer. Breast oncology specialists tended to overestimate the risk of tumor recurrence compared with recurrence scores. Recurrence scores provide useful information that improves patient selection for chemotherapy and changes treatment recommendations in approximately 25% of cases.
The Oncotype DX assay predicts likelihood of distant recurrence and improves patient selection for adjuvant chemotherapy in estrogen receptor–positive (ER-positive) early stage breast cancer. This study has two primary endpoints: to evaluate the impact of Oncotype DX recurrence scores (RS) on chemotherapy recommendations and to compare the estimated recurrence risk predicted by breast oncology specialists to RS.
One hundred fifty-four patients with ER-positive early stage breast cancer and available RS results were selected. Clinicopathologic data were provided to four surgeons, four medical oncologists, and four pathologists. Participants were asked to estimate recurrence risk category and offer their chemotherapy recommendations initially without and later with knowledge of RS results. The three most important clinicopathologic features guiding their recommendations were requested.
Ninety-five (61.7%), 45 (29.2%), and 14 (9.1%) tumors were low, intermediate, and high risk by RS, respectively. RS significantly correlated with tumor grade, mitotic activity, lymphovascular invasion, hormone receptor, and HER2/neu status. Estimated recurrence risk by participants agreed with RS in 54.2% ± 2.3% of cases. Without and with knowledge of RS, 82.3% ± 1.3% and 69.0% ± 6.9% of patients may be overtreated, respectively (p = 0.0322). Inclusion of RS data resulted in a 24.9% change in treatment recommendations. There was no significant difference in recommendations between groups of participants.
Breast oncology specialists tended to overestimate the risk of tumor recurrence compared with RS. RS provides useful information that improves patient selection for chemotherapy and changes treatment recommendations in approximately 25% of cases.
PMCID: PMC3233285  PMID: 22016474
Breast cancer; Risk assessment; Adjuvant chemotherapy; Gene expression profiling
4.  Impact of a Commercial Reference Laboratory Test Recurrence Score on Decision Making in Early-Stage Breast Cancer 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2007;3(4):182-186.
To investigate whether recurrence score (RS) as determined using a commercial reference laboratory test influences clinicians' treatment recommendations and eventual treatment in patients with early-stage breast cancer.
A retrospective analysis was performed on 74 patients from a community-based oncology practice with estrogen receptor (ER) –positive, lymph node (LN) –negative stage I or II breast cancer for which RS was obtained. Demographic and pathology information was extracted from medical records. Ten-year relapse-free survival was calculated using Adjuvant! Online. Treatment recommendations before the RS knowledge were compared with treatment recommendations after RS knowledge and to the treatment eventually administered.
Results and Conclusion
A weak correlation was found between RS and both patient age and tumor size, modest correlation between RS and tumor grade, and modest correlation between RS and 10-year recurrence as determined by Adjuvant! Online. For 21% and 25% of patients, knowledge of the RS changed the clinicians' treatment recommendations and eventual treatment, respectively. The decision to change from hormone therapy to chemotherapy (with or without hormone therapy) was generally associated with high RS (high distant recurrence risk as determined by the commercial reference laboratory test), whereas the decision to change from chemotherapy to hormone therapy was generally associated with low RS (low distant recurrence risk as determined by the commercial reference laboratory test). Knowledge of the RS changed treatment recommendations and eventual treatment in patients with ER-positive/LN-negative early-stage breast cancer. Use of genomic-based prognosis may result in more accurate estimates of true recurrence risk than currently possible with commonly used prognostic factors (such as patient age, tumor size, and tumor grade) alone and thus lead to an increase in appropriate adjuvant therapy decision making.
PMCID: PMC2793805  PMID: 20859407
5.  Breast Medical Oncologists' Use of Standard Prognostic Factors to Predict a 21-Gene Recurrence Score 
The Oncologist  2011;16(10):1359-1366.
The ability of oncologists to predict the Oncotype DX® recurrence score using standard prognostic criteria is examined.
Half of all breast cancers are early stage, lymph node negative, and hormone receptor positive. A 21-gene (Oncotype DX®; Genomic Health, Inc., Redwood City, CA) recurrence score (RS) is prognostic for recurrence and predictive of chemotherapy benefit. We explored the ability of oncologists to predict the RS using standard prognostic criteria.
Standard demographic and tumor prognostic criteria were obtained from patients with an available RS. Two academic pathologists provided tumor grade, histologic type, and hormone receptor status. Six academic oncologists predicted the RS category (low, intermediate, or high) and provided a recommendation for therapy. The oncologists were then given the actual RS and provided recommendations for therapy. Analysis for agreement was performed.
Thirty-one cases, including nine additional cases with variant pathology reads, were presented. There was substantial agreement in oncologists' ability to discriminate between true low or true intermediate and true high (κ = 0.75; p < .0001). Predictions between low and intermediate were not consistent. The most common discrepancies were predictions of a low RS risk when cases were true intermediate and predictions of an intermediate RS risk when cases were true low. The actual RS resulted in a change in the treatment recommendations in 19% of cases. Of the 186 scenarios and six oncologists in aggregate, five fewer chemotherapy recommendations resulted with the actual RS.
Oncologists are able to differentiate between a low or intermediate RS and a high RS using standard prognostic criteria. However, provision of the actual RS changed the treatment recommendations in nearly 20% of cases, suggesting that the RS may reduce chemotherapy use. This effect was observed in particular in intermediate-risk cases. Prospective clinical trials are necessary to determine whether decisions based on the RS change outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3228065  PMID: 21934103
Breast cancer; recurrence disease management
6.  Cost-effectiveness of a 21-gene recurrence score assay versus Canadian clinical practice in women with early-stage estrogen- or progesterone-receptor-positive, axillary lymph-node negative breast cancer 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:447.
A 21-gene recurrence score (RS) assay may inform adjuvant systematic treatment decisions in women with early stage breast cancer. We sought to investigate the cost effectiveness of using the RS-assay versus current clinical practice (CCP) in women with early-stage estrogen- or progesterone-receptor-positive, axilliary lymph-node negative breast cancer (ER+/ PR + LN- ESBC) from the perspective of the Canadian public healthcare system.
We developed a Markov model to project the lifetime clinical and economic consequences of ESBC. We evaluated adjuvant therapy separately in post- and pre-menopausal women with ER+/ PR + LN- ESBC. We assumed that the RS-assay would reclassify pre- and post-menopausal women among risk levels (low, intermediate and high) and guide adjuvant systematic treatment decisions. The model was parameterized using 7 year follow up data from the Manitoba Cancer Registry, cost data from Manitoba administrative databases, and secondary sources. Costs are presented in 2010 CAD. Future costs and benefits were discounted at 5%.
The RS-assay compared to CCP generated cost-savings in pre-menopausal women and had an ICER of $60,000 per QALY gained in post-menopausal women. The cost effectiveness was most sensitive to the proportion of women classified as intermediate risk by the RS-assay who receive adjuvant chemotherapy and the risk of relapse in the RS-assay model.
The RS-assay is likely to be cost effective in the Canadian healthcare system and should be considered for adoption in women with ER+/ PR + LN- ESBC. However, ongoing assessment and validation of the assay in real-world clinical practice is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3488327  PMID: 23031196
Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Cost-effectiveness; 21-gene recurrence score assay
7.  A population-based study of tumor gene expression and risk of breast cancer death among lymph node-negative patients 
Breast Cancer Research  2006;8(3):R25.
The Oncotype DX assay was recently reported to predict risk for distant recurrence among a clinical trial population of tamoxifen-treated patients with lymph node-negative, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. To confirm and extend these findings, we evaluated the performance of this 21-gene assay among node-negative patients from a community hospital setting.
A case-control study was conducted among 4,964 Kaiser Permanente patients diagnosed with node-negative invasive breast cancer from 1985 to 1994 and not treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. Cases (n = 220) were patients who died from breast cancer. Controls (n = 570) were breast cancer patients who were individually matched to cases with respect to age, race, adjuvant tamoxifen, medical facility and diagnosis year, and were alive at the date of death of their matched case. Using an RT-PCR assay, archived tumor tissues were analyzed for expression levels of 16 cancer-related and five reference genes, and a summary risk score (the Recurrence Score) was calculated for each patient. Conditional logistic regression methods were used to estimate the association between risk of breast cancer death and Recurrence Score.
After adjusting for tumor size and grade, the Recurrence Score was associated with risk of breast cancer death in ER-positive, tamoxifen-treated and -untreated patients (P = 0.003 and P = 0.03, respectively). At 10 years, the risks for breast cancer death in ER-positive, tamoxifen-treated patients were 2.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7–3.9%), 10.7% (95% CI 6.3–14.9%), and 15.5% (95% CI 7.6–22.8%) for those in the low, intermediate and high risk Recurrence Score groups, respectively. They were 6.2% (95% CI 4.5–7.9%), 17.8% (95% CI 11.8–23.3%), and 19.9% (95% CI 14.2–25.2%) for ER-positive patients not treated with tamoxifen. In both the tamoxifen-treated and -untreated groups, approximately 50% of patients had low risk Recurrence Score values.
In this large, population-based study of lymph node-negative patients not treated with chemotherapy, the Recurrence Score was strongly associated with risk of breast cancer death among ER-positive, tamoxifen-treated and -untreated patients.
PMCID: PMC1557737  PMID: 16737553
8.  The 21-gene recurrence score assay impacts adjuvant therapy recommendations for ER-positive, node-negative and node-positive early breast cancer resulting in a risk-adapted change in chemotherapy use 
Annals of Oncology  2012;24(3):618-624.
We carried out a prospective clinical study to evaluate the impact of the Recurrence Score (RS) on treatment decisions in early breast cancer (EBC).
Patients and methods
A total of 379 eligible women with estrogen receptor positive (ER+), HER2-negative EBC and 0–3 positive lymph nodes were enrolled. Treatment recommendations, patients' decisional conflict, physicians' confidence before and after knowledge of the RS and actual treatment data were recorded.
Of the 366 assessable patients 244 were node negative (N0) and 122 node positive (N+). Treatment recommendations changed in 33% of all patients (N0 30%, N+ 39%). In 38% of all patients (N0 39%, N+ 37%) with an initial recommendation for chemoendocrine therapy, the post-RS recommendation changed to endocrine therapy, in 25% (N0 22%, N+ 39%) with an initial recommendation for endocrine therapy only to combined chemoendocrine therapy, respectively. A patients' decisional conflict score improved by 6% (P = 0.028) and physicians' confidence increased in 45% (P < 0.001) of all cases. Overall, 33% (N0 29%, N+ 38%) of fewer patients actually received chemotherapy as compared with patients recommended chemotherapy pre-test. Using the test was cost-saving versus current clinical practice.
RS-guided chemotherapy decision-making resulted in a substantial modification of adjuvant chemotherapy usage in node-negative and node-positive ER+ EBC.
PMCID: PMC3574549  PMID: 23136233
adjuvant; breast cancer; chemotherapy; node negative; node positive; recurrence score
9.  Prognostic utility of the breast cancer index and comparison to Adjuvant! Online in a clinical case series of early breast cancer 
Breast Cancer Index (BCI) combines two independent biomarkers, HOXB13:IL17BR (H:I) and the 5-gene molecular grade index (MGI), that assess estrogen-mediated signalling and tumor grade, respectively. BCI stratifies early-stage estrogen-receptor positive (ER+), lymph-node negative (LN-) breast cancer patients into three risk groups and provides a continuous assessment of individual risk of distant recurrence. Objectives of the current study were to validate BCI in a clinical case series and to compare the prognostic utility of BCI and Adjuvant!Online (AO).
Tumor samples from 265 ER+LN- tamoxifen-treated patients were identified from a single academic institution's cancer research registry. The BCI assay was performed and scores were assigned based on a pre-determined risk model. Risk was assessed by BCI and AO and correlated to clinical outcomes in the patient cohort.
BCI was a significant predictor of outcome in a cohort of 265 ER+LN- patients (median age: 56-y; median follow-up: 10.3-y), treated with adjuvant tamoxifen alone or tamoxifen with chemotherapy (32%). BCI categorized 55%, 21%, and 24% of patients as low, intermediate and high-risk, respectively. The 10-year rates of distant recurrence were 6.6%, 12.1% and 31.9% and of breast cancer-specific mortality were 3.8%, 3.6% and 22.1% in low, intermediate, and high-risk groups, respectively. In a multivariate analysis including clinicopathological factors, BCI was a significant predictor of distant recurrence (HR for 5-unit increase = 5.32 [CI 2.18-13.01; P = 0.0002]) and breast cancer-specific mortality (HR for a 5-unit increase = 9.60 [CI 3.20-28.80; P < 0.0001]). AO was significantly associated with risk of recurrence. In a separate multivariate analysis, both BCI and AO were significantly predictive of outcome. In a time-dependent (10-y) ROC curve accuracy analysis of recurrence risk, the addition of BCI+AO increased predictive accuracy in all patients from 66% (AO only) to 76% (AO+BCI) and in tamoxifen-only treated patients from 65% to 81%.
This study validates the prognostic performance of BCI in ER+LN- patients. In this characteristically low-risk cohort, BCI classified high versus low-risk groups with ~5-fold difference in 10-year risk of distant recurrence and breast cancer-specific death. BCI and AO are independent predictors with BCI having additive utility beyond standard of care parameters that are encompassed in AO.
PMCID: PMC3262211  PMID: 21999244
10.  Association Between the 21-Gene Recurrence Score Assay and Risk of Locoregional Recurrence in Node-Negative, Estrogen Receptor–Positive Breast Cancer: Results From NSABP B-14 and NSABP B-20 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(10):1677-1683.
The 21-gene OncotypeDX recurrence score (RS) assay quantifies the risk of distant recurrence in tamoxifen-treated patients with node-negative, estrogen receptor (ER)–positive breast cancer. We investigated the association between RS and risk for locoregional recurrence (LRR) in patients with node-negative, ER-positive breast cancer from two National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) trials (NSABP B-14 and B-20).
Patients and Methods
RS was available for 895 tamoxifen-treated patients (from both trials), 355 placebo-treated patients (from B-14), and 424 chemotherapy plus tamoxifen-treated patients (from B-20). The primary end point was time to first LRR. Distant metastases, second primary cancers, and deaths before LRR were censored.
In tamoxifen-treated patients, LRR was significantly associated with RS risk groups (P < .001). The 10-year Kaplan-Meier estimate of LRR was 4.% (95% CI, 2.3% to 6.3%) for patients with a low RS (< 18), 7.2% (95% CI, 3.4% to 11.0%) for those with intermediate RS (18-30), and 15.8% (95% CI, 10.4% to 21.2%) for those with a high RS (> 30). There were also significant associations between RS and LRR in placebo-treated patients from B-14 (P = .022) and in chemotherapy plus tamoxifen–treated patients from B-20 (P = .028). In multivariate analysis, RS was an independent significant predictor of LRR along with age and type of initial treatment.
Similar to the association between RS and risk for distant recurrence, a significant association exists between RS and risk for LRR. This information has biologic consequences and potential clinical implications relative to locoregional therapy decisions for patients with node-negative and ER-positive breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2849763  PMID: 20065188
11.  Cost-Effectiveness of the 21-Gene Recurrence Score Assay in the Context of Multifactorial Decision Making to Guide Chemotherapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer 
New evidence is available regarding the utility of the 21-gene Recurrence Score (RS) assay in guiding chemotherapy use for node-negative, estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer. We applied this evidence in a decision-analytic model to reevaluate the cost-effectiveness of the assay.
We cross-classified patients by clinicopathologic characteristics from the Adjuvant! risk index and by RS risk group. For non–RS-guided treatment, we assumed patients receiving hormonal therapy alone had low-risk characteristics and patients receiving chemotherapy and hormonal therapy had higher-risk characteristics. For RS-guided treatment, we assigned chemotherapy probabilities conditional on RS risk group and clinicopathologic characteristics.
An estimated 40.4% of patients in the RS-guided strategy and 47.3% in the non–RS-guided strategy were expected to receive chemotherapy. The incremental gain in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) was 0.16 (95% CI, 0.08 to 0.28) with the RS-guided strategy. Lifetime medical costs to the health system were $2692 ($1546 to $3821) higher with the RS-guided strategy, for an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $16,677/QALY ($7613 to $37,219). From a societal perspective, the incremental cost-effectiveness was $10,788/QALY ($6840 to $30,265).
The findings provide supportive evidence for the economic value of the 21-gene RS assay in node-negative, estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3743447  PMID: 22975761
Breast Neoplasms; Chemotherapy; Adjuvant; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Gene Expression; Health Care Costs; Prognosis
12.  Adjuvant!© Online estimation of chemotherapy effectiveness when added to ovarian function suppression plus tamoxifen for premenopausal women with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer 
Adjuvant! © Online (Adjuvant!) is a user-friendly, web-based tool that provides estimates of adjuvant therapy outcomes for individual patients. While reliable evidence underpins estimates for most patient cohorts, there is a paucity of data on the effect of adding chemotherapy to complete estrogen blockade for premenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer.
International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) Trial 11-93 enrolled 174 premenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive, node-positive breast cancer. Fifty-five percent of patients had 1 positive axillary lymph node and 97% had 3 or fewer positive nodes. Patients were randomized to receive ovarian function suppression plus five years of tamoxifen with or without anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Estimated hazard rates and corresponding 10-year relapse-free survival percents obtained from Trial 11-93 data were compared with those predicted using Adjuvant!.
The 10-year relapse-free survival percents predicted from Adjuvant! were 64.4% (95% CI, 61.9% to 67.2%) for endocrine therapy alone and 74.9% (95% CI, 73.1% to 76.8%) for chemoendocrine therapy. By contrast, these estimates in Trial 11-93 were 76.4% (95% CI, 65.8% to 84.0%) for endocrine therapy alone and 74.9% (95% CI, 64.5% to 82.7%) for chemoendocrine therapy. The Adjuvant! estimate for the endocrine alone control group is lower than that observed in Trial 11-93 (p=0.03), while the estimates for the two chemoendocrine therapy groups are similar.
Adjuvant! appears to underestimate the effectiveness of adjuvant endocrine therapy alone for premenopausal women with endocrine responsive breast cancer, thus overestimating the added benefit, if any, from chemotherapy for this patient population.
PMCID: PMC3588884  PMID: 20195744
Adjuvant! © Online; Estrogen Receptor; Premenopausal; Chemotherapy; Endocrine Therapy; International Breast Cancer Study Group
13.  Hazard of recurrence and adjuvant treatment effects over time in lymph node-negative breast cancer 
For patients with axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer, benefits from adjuvant therapy are smaller than in node-positive disease and thus more selective use is warranted, prompting development of risk profiling to identify those most likely to benefit. Examination of the magnitude and changes in the hazard of failure over time in node-negative breast cancer may also be informative in this regard.
Among 9,444 participants from five randomized trials (accrual 1982–1998) investigating chemotherapy and tamoxifen for node-negative breast cancer, we estimated recurrence hazards over time by tumor estrogen receptor (ER) status and adjuvant treatment.
In patients treated by surgery only, we observed the previously noted larger hazard peak followed by a rapid decrease in ER-negative patients and smaller but more persistent hazard in ER-positive patients. After approximately 48 months, the ER-positive hazard is greater. For adjuvant treatment, while tamoxifen decreases the early hazard in ER-positive patients to that of the chemotherapy-treated ER-negative group, in later follow-up (beyond 5 years) the hazard for ER-positive patients again exceeds that of ER-negative patients. Adding chemotherapy to tamoxifen in ER-positive patients results in large early hazard reduction, but in later follow-up the hazard converges with those of patients treated by surgery only or tamoxifen.
Recurrence hazards over time reveal changes in risk that may have biologic and therapeutic strategy relevance. In ER-negative tumors, a large early chemotherapy benefit is followed by a consistently low recurrence hazard over time. In ER-positive patients, the chemotherapy benefit appears concentrated mostly in earlier follow-up, and a greater recurrence risk remains.
PMCID: PMC2711214  PMID: 18830816
Lymph node-negative; Estrogen receptor; Systemic adjuvant therapy; Hazard; Prognosis
14.  Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Recurrence Score-Guided Treatment Using a 21-Gene Assay in Early Breast Cancer 
The Oncologist  2010;15(5):457-465.
This article develops a model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of recurrence score-guided treatment using 21-gene assay as compared with treatment guided by the Adjuvant! Online program; the study concludes that the 21-gene assay appears to be cost effective from a Canadian health care perspective.
Most guidelines for hormone receptor (HR)–positive early breast cancer recommend addition of adjuvant chemotherapy for most women, leading to overtreatment, which causes considerable morbidity and cost. There has been recent incorporation of gene expression analysis in aiding decision making. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of recurrence score (RS)–guided treatment using 21-gene assay as compared with treatment guided by the Adjuvant! Online program (AOL).
Patients and Methods.
A Markov model was developed to compare the cost-effectiveness of treatment guided either by 21-gene assay or by AOL in a 50-year-old woman with lymph node–negative HR-positive breast cancer over a lifetime horizon. We assumed that women classified to be at high risk all received chemotherapy followed by tamoxifen and those classified to be at low risk received tamoxifen only. The model took a health care payer's perspective with results reported in 2008 Canadian dollars ($). Event rates, costs, and utilities were derived from the literature. Both costs and benefits were discounted at 5%. Outcome measures were life years gained, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), lifetime costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).
For a 50-year-old woman, RS-guided treatment was associated with an incremental lifetime cost of $4,102 and a gain in 0.065 QALY, with an ICER of $63,064 per QALY compared with AOL-guided treatment. ICER increased with increasing cost of 21-gene assay and increasing age of patients. Results were most sensitive to probabilities relating to risk categorization and recurrence rate.
The 21-gene assay appears cost-effective from a Canadian health care perspective.
PMCID: PMC3227972  PMID: 20421264
Cost-effectiveness analysis; 21-gene assay; Early breast cancer; Oncotype DX
15.  Axillary treatment for patients with early breast cancer and lymph node metastasis: systematic review protocol 
For patients with early breast cancer and lymph node metastasis, axillary treatment is widely recommended. This is either surgical removal of the axillary lymph nodes, or axillary radiotherapy. The rationale for axillary treatment is that it will reduce the risk of recurrence in the axilla, and may improve survival. However, both treatments are associated with adverse effects, such as lymphedema, pain and sensory loss, and are costly to the health services and to patients. With improvements in adjuvant therapy, routine axillary treatment may no longer offer any overall advantage.
To assess the short and long term benefits and adverse effects of routine axillary treatment (axillary lymph node clearance or axillary radiotherapy) for patients with lymph node positive early-stage breast cancer.
Criteria for potentially eligibility for the study will be that the participants are men and women with early breast cancer and lymph nodes with metastasis. The study compares either axillary treatment with no axillary treatment, or axillary node clearance with axillary radiotherapy, and the study is a randomized trial. Primary outcomes are axillary recurrence, disease-free and overall survival. Secondary outcomes include breast or chest wall recurrence, distant metastasis, time to axillary recurrence, axillary recurrence-free survival, arm morbidity, quality of life and health economic costs. The search strategy will include the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE and WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) search portal. Two independent reviewers will assess studies for inclusion in the review, assess study quality and extract data. Characteristics of included studies will be described. Meta-analysis will be conducted using ReVman software.
This review addresses an important clinical question, and results will inform clinical practice and health care policy.
PMCID: PMC3562161  PMID: 23317390
16.  Evaluating Use Characteristics for the Oncotype Dx 21-Gene Recurrence Score and Concordance With Chemotherapy Use in Early-Stage Breast Cancer 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2013;9(4):182-187.
Patients who are younger, have better ECOG performance status, or have higher grade tumors are more likely to undergo recurrence score testing.
Oncotype Dx 21-gene assay recurrence score (RS) predicts recurrence of early-stage breast cancer (ESBC). We investigated whether patient, tumor, or practice characteristics drive its use and explored Oncotype DX RS and chemotherapy use in subgroups.
Patients with ESBC with documented estrogen receptor–positive, lymph node–negative, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–negative tumors registered within McKesson Specialty Health's iKnowMed electronic health record were included. Patient and practice characteristics by region and size were analyzed. The association between Oncotype DX RS value and use of chemotherapy were assessed.
The study included 6,229 patients. Of these, 1,822 (29%) had an Oncotype DX RS result. Test use was 36%, 38%, 34%, 25%, and 6%, respectively, in patients age ≤ 45, 46-55, 56-65, 66-75, and ≥ 76 years; 33%, 25%, and 9% in patients with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0, 1, and ≥ 2; 7%, 9%, 25%, 38%, 27%, and 10% in T1mic, T1a, T1b, T1c, T2, and T3 tumors; and 26%, 32%, and 33% for grades 1, 2, and 3 tumors. Of the 1,822 patients with available Oncotype DX RS, adjuvant chemotherapy use was 6%, 42%, and 84% in the low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups.
Patients who were younger, had better ECOG performance status, or had higher grade tumors were more likely to undergo RS testing. It appears that the RS test may have influenced the decision about whether to administer adjuvant chemotherapy: a low RS score was associated with lower chemotherapy use and a high RS score was associated with higher chemotherapy use.
PMCID: PMC3710166  PMID: 23942918
17.  Comparison of Prognostic Gene Profiles Using qRT-PCR in Paraffin Samples: A Retrospective Study in Patients with Early Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(6):e5911.
Gene profiling may improve prognostic accuracy in patients with early breast cancer, but this technology is not widely available. We used commercial assays for qRT-PCR to assess the performance of the gene profiles included in the 70-Gene Signature, the Recurrence Score and the Two-Gene Ratio.
153 patients with early breast cancer and a minimum follow-up of 5 years were included. All tumours were positive for hormonal receptors and 38% had positive lymph nodes; 64% of patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. RNA was extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens using a specific kit. qRT-PCR amplifications were performed with TaqMan Gene Expression Assays products. We applied the three gene-expression-based models to our patient cohort to compare the predictions derived from these gene sets.
After a median follow-up of 91 months, 22% of patients relapsed. The distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) at 5 years was calculated for each profile. For the 70-Gene Signature, DMFS was 95% -good prognosis- versus 66% -poor prognosis. In the case of the Recurrence Score, DMFS was 98%, 81% and 69% for low, intermediate and high-risk groups, respectively. Finally, for the Two-Gene Ratio, DMFS was 86% versus 70%. The 70-Gene Signature and the Recurrence Score were highly informative in identifying patients with distant metastasis, even in multivariate analysis.
Commercially available assays for qRT-PCR can be used to assess the prognostic utility of previously published gene expression profiles in FFPE material from patients with early breast cancer. Our results, with the use of a different platform and with different material, confirm the robustness of the 70-Gene Signature and represent an independent test for the Recurrence Score, using different primer/probe sets.
PMCID: PMC2698956  PMID: 19547727
18.  Deletion of the PER3 Gene on Chromosome 1p36 in Recurrent ER-Positive Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(23):3770-3778.
To investigate the role of the PER3 circadian rhythm gene, located within the commonly deleted region of chromosome 1p36, in human breast cancer development.
Patients and Methods
The frequency of genetic alterations at 1p36 and PER3 gene copy number status were analyzed in 180 lymph node–negative breast cancers from patients who had received treatment with chemotherapy and/or tamoxifen. The expression levels of PER3 were also analyzed using published microarray profiles from > 400 breast cancer samples. Finally, the effect of loss of Per3 on tumor susceptibility was tested using two mouse models of breast cancer.
Deletion of PER3 is directly related to tumor recurrence in patients with estrogen receptor (ER) – positive breast cancers treated with tamoxifen. Low expression of PER3 mRNA is associated with poor prognosis, particularly in a subset of tumors that are ER positive, and either luminal A or ERBB2-positive tumors. Mice deficient in Per3 showed increased susceptibility to breast cancer induced by carcinogen treatment or by overexpression of Erbb2.
Disruption of PER3 function may serve as an indicator of probability of tumor recurrence in patients with ER-positive tumors. Further investigations of this pathway may reveal links between deregulation of sleep homeostasis and breast tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC2917310  PMID: 20625127
19.  Prediction of Late Disease Recurrence and Extended Adjuvant Letrozole Benefit by the HOXB13/IL17BR Biomarker 
Biomarkers to optimize extended adjuvant endocrine therapy for women with estrogen receptor (ER)–positive breast cancer are limited. The HOXB13/IL17BR (H/I) biomarker predicts recurrence risk in ER-positive, lymph node–negative breast cancer patients. H/I was evaluated in MA.17 trial for prognostic performance for late recurrence and treatment benefit from extended adjuvant letrozole.
A prospective–retrospective, nested case-control design of 83 recurrences matched to 166 nonrecurrences from letrozole- and placebo-treated patients within MA.17 was conducted. Expression of H/I within primary tumors was determined by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction with a prespecified cutpoint. The predictive ability of H/I for ascertaining benefit from letrozole was determined using multivariable conditional logistic regression including standard clinicopathological factors as covariates. All statistical tests were two-sided.
High H/I was statistically significantly associated with a decrease in late recurrence in patients receiving extended letrozole therapy (odds ratio [OR] = 0.35; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.16 to 0.75; P = .007). In an adjusted model with standard clinicopathological factors, high H/I remained statistically significantly associated with patient benefit from letrozole (OR = 0.33; 95% CI = 0.15 to 0.73; P = .006). Reduction in the absolute risk of recurrence at 5 years was 16.5% for patients with high H/I (P = .007). The interaction between H/I and letrozole treatment was statistically significant (P = .03).
In the absence of extended letrozole therapy, high H/I identifies a subgroup of ER-positive patients disease-free after 5 years of tamoxifen who are at risk for late recurrence. When extended endocrine therapy with letrozole is prescribed, high H/I predicts benefit from therapy and a decreased probability of late disease recurrence.
PMCID: PMC3888138  PMID: 23812955
20.  Treatment decisions in estrogen receptor-positive early breast cancer patients with intermediate oncotype DX recurrence score results 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:71.
This retrospective study evaluated the impact of intermediate Recurrence Score® results on adjuvant treatment decisions in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) early invasive breast cancer, comparing treatment recommendations pre-testing with actual treatments received post-testing. Of the 111 patients included in the analysis, 78 (70.3%) had hormonal therapy (HT) and 33 (29.7%) had chemohormonal therapy (CHT) recommendations pre-testing. The Recurrence Score was significantly higher in those with a pre-testing CHT recommendation compared with those with a pre-testing HT recommendation (median of 24 vs. 22; P = 0.047; Mann–Whitney–Wilcoxon [MWW] test). Post-testing, treatment of 24 patients (21.6%) was different from their pre-testing recommendation. The difference between CHT recommendation rate pre-testing and the rate of CHT received post-testing was nonsignificant for the entire cohort and for patients’ subgroups (by age, tumor size, and grade) (P >0.17; McNemar’s test). Following classification of the cohort into two Recurrence Score subcategories (low-intermediate, [18-25]; high-intermediate, [26-30]), changes in treatment decisions (pre-testing recommendations vs. actual treatments received post testing) were reported for 16.5% of low-intermediate and 34.4% of high-intermediate patients. Post-testing, the rate of CHT decreased (by 58%) in the low-intermediate subcategory and increased (by 64%) in the high-intermediate subcategory (P <0.01, both subcategories). In logistic regression analyses, the Recurrence Score subcategory was the only significant predictor of changes in treatment decisions (pre-testing recommendations vs. actual treatments received post testing; P <0.01). The only significant difference between the two subsets of patients with such a change (HT to CHT, 11 patients; CHT to HT, 13 patients) was the Recurrence Score (median of 28 vs. 20, respectively; P = 0.0014; MWW test). These findings demonstrate that intermediate Recurrence Score results provide clinically relevant information and impact treatment decisions in ER + early breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3925494  PMID: 24567880
Adjuvant chemotherapy; Breast cancer; Decision making; Intermediate risk; Oncotype DX; Recurrence score
21.  Use of Oncotype DX in Women with Node-Positive Breast Cancer 
PLoS Currents  2011;3:RRN1249.
Women with early stage breast cancer frequently receive adjuvant chemotherapy to prevent recurrence; however, not all patients benefit. Recently, gene expression marker panels, such as Oncotype DX, that may better predict risk of breast cancer recurrence have become commercially available and are being used to guide treatment decisions. Oncotype DX analyzes the expression of 21 genes within a tumor to determine a recurrence score that corresponds to a specific likelihood of breast cancer recurrence within 10 years of the initial diagnosis, as well as response to adjuvant treatment. We examined the published literature on the analytic validity, clinical validity, and clinical utility of Oncotype DX in guiding adjuvant treatment decisions in women with lymph node-positive breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3145540  PMID: 21984342
22.  Prognostic Utility of the 21-Gene Assay in Hormone Receptor–Positive Operable Breast Cancer Compared With Classical Clinicopathologic Features 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(25):4063-4071.
Adjuvant! is a standardized validated decision aid that projects outcomes in operable breast cancer based on classical clinicopathologic features and therapy. Genomic classifiers offer the potential to more accurately identify individuals who benefit from chemotherapy than clinicopathologic features.
Patients and Methods
A sample of 465 patients with hormone receptor (HR) –positive breast cancer with zero to three positive axillary nodes who did (n = 99) or did not have recurrence after chemohormonal therapy had tumor tissue evaluated using a 21-gene assay. Histologic grade and HR expression were evaluated locally and in a central laboratory.
Recurrence Score (RS) was a highly significant predictor of recurrence, including node-negative and node-positive disease (P < .001 for both) and when adjusted for other clinical variables. RS also predicted recurrence more accurately than clinical variables when integrated by an algorithm modeled after Adjuvant! that was adjusted to 5-year outcomes. The 5-year recurrence rate was only 5% or less for the estimated 46% of patients who have a low RS (< 18).
The 21-gene assay was a more accurate predictor of relapse than standard clinical features for individual patients with HR-positive operable breast cancer treated with chemohormonal therapy and provides information that is complementary to features typically used in anatomic staging, such as tumor size and lymph node involvement. The 21-gene assay may be used to select low-risk patients for abbreviated chemotherapy regimens similar to those used in our study or high-risk patients for more aggressive regimens or clinical trials evaluating novel treatments.
PMCID: PMC2654377  PMID: 18678838
23.  Factors Influencing Treatment Recommendations in Node-Negative Breast Cancer 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2011;7(1):26-30.
Grade, tumor size, estrogen-receptor status, and younger age are the most significant factors influencing adjuvant chemotherapy recommendation for patients with node-negative breast cancer.
To assess factors influencing recommendations for adjuvant chemotherapy (CT) in relation to perceived benefits in women with stage 1 breast cancer and to determine the degree to which recommendations were followed.
Recommendations from multidisciplinary team meetings at Royal North Shore Hospital (Sydney, Australia) during 2007 and 2008 for postoperative patients with invasive, primary breast cancer were reviewed. Treatment data were collected from patients' medical records. Estimated benefits of adjuvant CT on 10-year survival for node-negative patients were calculated using Adjuvant! Online. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed using SPSS.
Of 345 patients (mean age, 59 years), 51 were unsuitable for CT as a result of comorbidity and/or age > 80 years. All 93 patients with nodal macrometastases who were suitable for CT and 20 (80%) of 25 with micrometastases were recommended for CT, compared with 92 (53%) of 175 node-negative patients. Tumor size > 2 cm, grade 3, estrogen receptor negativity, and age less than 45 years were independent factors influencing CT recommendation. The mean estimated benefit of CT in node-negative patients who received this recommendation was 5.7% versus 1.3% in patients not recommended for CT. Twenty-one (23%) node-negative patients declined CT after discussion with a medical oncologist. A higher proportion of node-negative patients were recommended for CT in 2008 versus 2007 (60% v 44%, P = .04).
Grade, tumor size, estrogen receptor status, and younger age are the most significant factors influencing CT recommendation in node-negative patients. The minimum level of benefit to recommend CT is approximately 2%. A significant proportion of patients do not proceed with CT after individualized review.
PMCID: PMC3014507  PMID: 21532807
24.  Prognostic and Predictive Value of the 21-Gene Recurrence Score Assay in a Randomized Trial of Chemotherapy for Postmenopausal, Node-Positive, Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer 
The lancet oncology  2009;11(1):55-65.
The 21-gene Recurrence Score assay (RS) is prognostic for women with node-negative, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer (BC) treated with tamoxifen. A low RS predicts little benefit of chemotherapy. For node-positive BC, we investigated whether RS was prognostic in women treated with tamoxifen alone and whether it identified those who might not benefit from anthracycline-based chemotherapy, despite higher recurrence risks.
The phase III trial S8814 for postmenopausal women with node-positive, ER-positive BC showed that CAF chemotherapy prior to tamoxifen (CAF-T) added survival benefit to tamoxifen alone. Optional tumor banking yielded specimens for RS determination by RT-PCR. We evaluated the effect of RS on disease-free survival (DFS) by treatment group (tamoxifen versus CAF-T) using Cox regression adjusting for number of positive nodes.
There were 367 specimens (40% of parent trial) with sufficient RNA (tamoxifen, 148; CAF-T, 219). The RS was prognostic in the tamoxifen arm (p=0.006). There was no CAF benefit in the low RS group (logrank p=0.97; HR=1.02, 95% CI (0.54,1.93)), but major DFS improvement for the high RS subset (logrank p=.03; HR=0.59, 95% CI (0.35, 1.01)), adjusting for number of positive nodes. The RS-by-treatment interaction was significant in the first 5 years (p=0.029), with no additional prediction beyond 5 years (p=0.58), though the cumulative benefit remained at 10 years. Results were similar for overall survival and BC-specific survival.
In this retrospective analysis, the RS is prognostic for tamoxifen-treated patients with positive nodes and predicts significant CAF benefit in tumors with a high RS. A low RS identifies women who may not benefit from anthracycline-based chemotherapy despite positive nodes.
PMCID: PMC3058239  PMID: 20005174
25.  Epidemiology and patterns of care for invasive breast carcinoma at a community hospital in Southern India 
Breast cancer incidence in India is on rise. We report epidemiological, clinical and survival patterns of breast cancer patients from community perspective.
All breast cancer patients treated at this hospital from July 2000 to July 2005 were included. All had cytological or histological confirmation of breast cancer. TNM guidelines for staging and Immunohistochemistry to assess the receptor status were used. Either lumpectomy with axillary lymph node dissection or Modified radical mastectomy (MRM) was done for operable breast cancer, followed by 6 cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy with FAC or CMF regimens to patients with pT >1 cm or lymph node positive or estrogen receptor negative and radiotherapy to patients after breast conservation surgery, pT size > 5 cm, 4 or more positive nodes and stage IIIB disease. Patients with positive Estrogen receptor or Progesterone receptor were advised Tamoxifene 20 mg per day for 3 years. Descriptive analysis was performed. Independent T test and Chi-square test were used. Overall survival time was computed by Kaplan – Meier method.
Of 1488 cancer patients, 122 (8.2%) had breast cancer. Of 122 patients, 96.7% had invasive breast carcinoma and 3.3% had sarcoma. 94% came from the rural and semi urban areas. Premenopausal women were 27%. The median age was 50 years. Stage I-6.8%, II-45.8%, III-22%, IV-6.8%, Bilateral breast cancer – 2.5%. The mean pT size was 3.9 cm. ER and PR were positive in 31.6% and 28.1% respectively. MRM was done in 93.8%, while 6.3% patients underwent breast conservation surgery. The mean of the lymph nodes dissected were 3. CMF and FAC regimens were used in 48.8% and 51.2% of patients respectively. FAC group were younger than the CMF group (43.6 yr vs. 54 yrs, P = 0.000). Toxicities were more in FAC than CMF group, alopecia (100% vs. 26.2%), grade2 or more emesis (31.8% vs. 9.2%), grade2 or more fatigue (40.9% vs.19%), anemia (43.1% vs. 16.6%). Median Survival for the cohort was 50.8 months. ER positive patients had better median survival (P = 0.05).
MRM was the most frequent surgical option. CMF and FAC showed equivalent survival. FAC chemotherapy was more toxic than CMF. ER positive tumors have superior survival. Overall 3 year survival was 70 percent
PMCID: PMC1891296  PMID: 17519044

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