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1.  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
2.  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.
Purpose
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.17.6891
PMCID: PMC2651077  PMID: 18955446
3.  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.
Purpose
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.
Methods
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.
doi:10.1200/JOP.0742001
PMCID: PMC2793805  PMID: 20859407
4.  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.
Background.
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.
Methods.
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.
Results.
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.
Conclusions.
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.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0048
PMCID: PMC3228065  PMID: 21934103
Breast cancer; recurrence disease management
5.  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.
Purpose.
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.
Methods.
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.
Results.
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.
Conclusions.
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.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0045
PMCID: PMC3233285  PMID: 22016474
Breast cancer; Risk assessment; Adjuvant chemotherapy; Gene expression profiling
6.  Oncologists’ recommendations for adjuvant endocrine therapy in older adults of varying health states 
Clinical breast cancer  2010;10(2):136-143.
Introduction
Currently, evidence supports the use of adjuvant endocrine therapy with aromatase inhibitors in postmenopausal patients with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer. The goal of the current study is to understand the impact of patient age and health status on the decision of the oncologist to recommend adjuvant endocrine therapy (with or without chemotherapy) in older women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer.
Methods
An on-line survey was conducted, with questions related to treatment of a hypothetical patient of varying age and health status with a T2N2 hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. Treatment options included chemotherapy and endocrine therapy, endocrine therapy alone, or no therapy. With recommendation of endocrine therapy, respondents were further asked to specify use of either tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors. A generalized linear mixed-effects model was used to determine the impact of age and health status on treatment recommendations.
Results
As the hypothetical patient’s age increased or health status deteriorated, oncologists were less likely to recommend a combination of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy (P<0.0001 for both). In contrast, oncologists were more likely to recommend endocrine therapy alone with advanced age (P<0.0001) and deteriorating health status (P<0.0001). With respect to the type of endocrine therapy selected, oncologists were more likely to choose treatment with aromatase inhibitors as opposed to tamoxifen (P<0.01), irrespective of age or health status. No therapy was infrequently recommended, constituting 2% of responses on average.
Conclusions
With increasing age and declining health status, oncologists were more likely to recommend treatment with endocrine therapy alone as opposed to the combination of chemotherapy with endocrine therapy. Oncologists were most likely to recommend use of aromatase inhibitors, irrespective of age or health status.
doi:10.3816/CBC.2010.n.018
PMCID: PMC4011553  PMID: 20353934
7.  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
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.
Background
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
RS-guided chemotherapy decision-making resulted in a substantial modification of adjuvant chemotherapy usage in node-negative and node-positive ER+ EBC.
doi:10.1093/annonc/mds512
PMCID: PMC3574549  PMID: 23136233
adjuvant; breast cancer; chemotherapy; node negative; node positive; recurrence score
9.  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
10.  Quantitative Measurement of Melanoma Spread in Sentinel Lymph Nodes and Survival 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(2):e1001604.
In this study, Klein and colleagues investigated the impact of minimal cancer sentinel lymph node spread and of increasing numbers of disseminated cancer cells on melanoma-specific survival. The authors found that cancer cell dissemination to the sentinel node is a quantitative risk factor for melanoma death and the best predictor of outcome was a model based on combined quantitative effects of DCCD, tumor thickness, and ulceration.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Sentinel lymph node spread is a crucial factor in melanoma outcome. We aimed to define the impact of minimal cancer spread and of increasing numbers of disseminated cancer cells on melanoma-specific survival.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed 1,834 sentinel nodes from 1,027 patients with ultrasound node-negative melanoma who underwent sentinel node biopsy between February 8, 2000, and June 19, 2008, by histopathology including immunohistochemistry and quantitative immunocytology. For immunocytology we recorded the number of disseminated cancer cells (DCCs) per million lymph node cells (DCC density [DCCD]) after disaggregation and immunostaining for the melanocytic marker gp100. None of the control lymph nodes from non-melanoma patients (n = 52) harbored gp100-positive cells. We analyzed gp100-positive cells from melanoma patients by comparative genomic hybridization and found, in 45 of 46 patients tested, gp100-positive cells displaying genomic alterations. At a median follow-up of 49 mo (range 3–123 mo), 138 patients (13.4%) had died from melanoma. Increased DCCD was associated with increased risk for death due to melanoma (univariable analysis; p<0.001; hazard ratio 1.81, 95% CI 1.61–2.01, for a 10-fold increase in DCCD + 1). Even patients with a positive DCCD ≤3 had an increased risk of dying from melanoma compared to patients with DCCD = 0 (p = 0.04; hazard ratio 1.63, 95% CI 1.02–2.58). Upon multivariable testing DCCD was a stronger predictor of death than histopathology. The final model included thickness, DCCD, and ulceration (all p<0.001) as the most relevant prognostic factors, was internally validated by bootstrapping, and provided superior survival prediction compared to the current American Joint Committee on Cancer staging categories.
Conclusions
Cancer cell dissemination to the sentinel node is a quantitative risk factor for melanoma death. A model based on the combined quantitative effects of DCCD, tumor thickness, and ulceration predicted outcome best, particularly at longer follow-up. If these results are validated in an independent study, establishing quantitative immunocytology in histopathological laboratories may be useful clinically.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Because the skin contains many different cell types, there are many types of skin cancer. The most dangerous type—melanoma—develops when mutations occur in melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment melanin. Less than 5% of skin cancers are melanomas, but melanoma causes most skin cancer deaths. Early signs of melanoma are a change in the appearance of a mole (a pigmented skin blemish) or the development of a new and unusual pigmented lesion. If these signs are noticed and the melanoma is diagnosed before it has spread from the skin into nearby lymph nodes and other tissues, surgery often provides a cure. For advanced melanomas, the outlook is generally poor, although novel therapies may prolong a patient's life.
Why Was This Study Done?
When a person is diagnosed with melanoma, it is important to “stage” the tumor. Knowing the extent and severity of the melanoma helps oncologists plan treatments and estimate their patients' likely outcomes. The detection of isolated melanoma cells in sentinel lymph nodes (the nodes to which cancer cells are most likely to spread from a primary tumor) is included in melanoma staging recommendations. However, finding rare tumor cells in sentinel lymph node biopsies by examining the tissue requires the analysis of many slides from each node removed from the patient and is extremely time-consuming. In this study, the researchers investigate the predictive value of a quantitative immunocytological assay that involves disaggregation of the sentinel node and detection of disseminated cancer cells (DCCs) by immunostaining for gp100 (a marker for melanoma cells). They also use this new assay to examine the effect of increasing numbers of DCCs on melanoma-specific survival.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used routine histopathology and immunocytology to analyze 1,834 sentinel lymph nodes from 1,027 patients with melanoma who underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy at one German hospital. For immunocytology, the researchers recorded the number of gp100-positive cells per million lymph node cells (the DCC density). During follow-up, 138 patients (13.4%) died from melanoma. The results indicated that increased DCC density was associated with an increased risk of death due to melanoma. Specifically, every 10-fold increase in DCC density + 1 was associated with a near doubling of the risk of death from melanoma (a hazard ratio of 1.81). Even patients with three or fewer gp100-positive cells per million lymph node cells had an increased risk of dying from melanoma compared to patients with no gp100-positive cells (hazard ratio 1.63). When other predictors of outcome such as age and primary tumor location were taken into account, DCC density was a stronger predictor of death than histopathology. Finally, a survival model that included tumor thickness, tumor ulceration, and DCC density provided survival prediction superior to that of a model based on the current standard staging recommendations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that quantification of cancer cell dissemination from melanomas to sentinel lymph nodes is feasible and can be combined with other characteristics of the primary tumor to provide an accurate prediction of outcomes for individual patients with melanoma. Notably, the new prediction model identifies a group of patients at high risk of progression for whom the current clinical standard underestimates the risk of death. These patients may benefit from adjuvant therapies, so the new analysis presented in this study may help to stratify patients for clinical trials. Importantly, quantitative immunocytology and the new model, although internally validated in this study, need to be validated in an independent group of patients before they can be considered for routine clinical use. If external validation is successful, quantitative immunocytology, which is much less labor-intensive than histopathology, has the potential to change the routine clinical care of patients with melanoma and probably with other solid tumors, conclude the researchers.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001604.
The US National Cancer Institute provides information for patients and professionals on melanoma, cancer staging, and sentinel lymph node biopsy (in English and Spanish)
The nonprofit organization American Cancer Society provides information in several languages on cancer and how it develops and specific information on melanoma, including the AJCC system for staging and personal stories
The UK National Health Service Choices website includes an introduction to cancer and a page on melanoma that includes personal stories
The nonprofit organization Cancer Research UK provides basic information about cancer and detailed information on melanoma
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001604
PMCID: PMC3928050  PMID: 24558354
11.  Review of the Clinical Studies Using the 21-Gene Assay 
The Oncologist  2010;15(5):447-456.
The literature supporting the prognostic and predictive ability of the 21-gene assay in hormone receptor–positive, node-negative and node-positive breast cancer patients in chemotherapy- and endocrine-treated and untreated populations is reviewed.
Purpose.
A major challenge in treating early-stage hormone receptor (HR)+ breast cancer is selecting women who, after initial surgery, do not require chemotherapy. Better prognostic and predictive tests are needed. The 21-gene assay is the only widely commercially available gene signature that can be performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue.
Methods.
We conducted a review of the literature supporting the prognostic and predictive ability of the 21-gene assay in HR+ node-negative and node-positive breast cancer patients in chemotherapy-/endocrine-treated and untreated populations.
We considered: (a) How accurate is the recurrence score (RS) as a prognostic factor for distant recurrence? (b) How accurate is the RS as a predictive factor for benefit from systemic therapy? (c) How does the RS compare with other prognostic/predictive factors such as tumor size, tumor grade, patient age, and integrated decision aids such as Adjuvant! Online? (d) How do patients and physicians view the 21-gene assay? (e) What are the cost implications of the 21-gene assay?
Results.
The 21-gene assay: (a) provided accurate risk information; (b) predicted response to cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil and to cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and 5-fluorouracil chemotherapy; (c) added additional information to traditional biomarkers; (d) was viewed positively by both physicians and patients; and (e) fell within the cost-effectiveness values in North America.
Conclusion.
This assay may be offered to patients with node-negative HR+ breast cancer to assist in adjuvant treatment decisions. Data are accumulating to support the use of the 21-gene assay in HR+ node-positive patients.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2009-0277
PMCID: PMC3227976  PMID: 20421266
Recurrence score; Prognostic test; Breast cancer; Adjuvant chemotherapy
12.  Paclitaxel-resistant advanced recurrent breast cancer: a case of partial response due to addition of bevacizumab to paclitaxel therapy: a case report 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:254.
Background
Paclitaxel plus bevacizumab have shown a high response rate and prolonged progression-free survival in metastatic breast cancer patients. However, overall survival was not prolonged. Thus, no conclusion has been made on the effectiveness of bevacizumab. In our report, taxane plus bevacizumab were used to treat a metastatic breast cancer patient with taxane resistance, and a good therapeutic result was obtained.
Case presentation
The patient was a 68-year-old woman with a non-contributory history. In September 2004, she underwent a pectoral muscle-conserving mastectomy with axillary dissection for right-sided breast cancer (pT3N0M0-stage IIB, estrogen receptor positive, progesterone receptor negative, and human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 negative). Adjuvant therapy consisted of 6 cycles of cyclophosphamide, epirubicin and fluorouracil, and subsequent oral anastrozole. In August 2007, the patient developed a recurrence in the left axillary lymph node. The chemotherapy was changed to high-dose toremifene, and radiation therapy was also performed. The patient achieved a complete response. In April 2009, CT showed left axillary lymph node enlargement once again and multiple lung metastases. Hormone therapy was changed to exemestane and long-term stable disease was achieved. In March 2011, the lung and left axillary lymph node metastases were enlarged and progressive disease was noted. Thus, the tumors were determined to be resistant to hormone therapy, and weekly paclitaxel was begun in May. Since partial response was achieved, this therapy was continued. In December, CT showed that lung and axillary lymph node metastases were enlarged and progressive disease was observed. Therefore, the tumors were determined to be resistant to paclitaxel. In January 2012, bevacizumab and weekly paclitaxel were begun. In April, lung and axillary lymph node metastases were reduced in size, and partial response was achieved. Thereafter the same treatment has been continued, and the patient has been followed up without clinical exacerbation as of January 2013.
Conclusion
Taxane plus bevacizumab were used to treat a metastatic breast cancer patient with taxane resistance, and a good therapeutic result was obtained. This result is considered important in increasing treatment options for patients with taxane resistance or patients using adjuvant taxane-based therapy and in examining the effectiveness of bevacizumab in metastatic breast cancer patients.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-254
PMCID: PMC3707777  PMID: 23830415
Breast cancer; Bevacizumab; Paclitaxel
13.  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
14.  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.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/bcr1412
PMCID: PMC1557737  PMID: 16737553
15.  How Does Older Age Influence Oncologists' Cancer Management? 
The Oncologist  2010;15(6):584-592.
The study used a vignette-type survey to assess preferences and influential factors in geriatric cancer management of U.S. practicing oncologists. Advanced patient age was found to deter oncologists from choosing intensive cancer therapy, even if the patient was highly functional and lacked comorbidities.
Background.
Over half of new cancer cases occur in patients aged ≥65 years. Many older patients can benefit from intensive cancer therapies, yet evidence suggests that this population is undertreated.
Methods.
To assess preferences and influential factors in geriatric cancer management, practicing U.S. medical oncologists completed a survey containing four detailed vignettes exploring colon, breast, lung, and prostate cancer treatment. Participants were randomly assigned one of two surveys with vignettes that were identical except for patient age (<65 years or >70 years).
Results.
Physicians in each survey group (n = 200) were demographically similar. Intensive therapy was significantly less likely to be recommended for an older than for a younger, but otherwise identical, patient in two of the scenarios. For a woman with metastatic colon cancer (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group [ECOG] score, 1) for whom chemotherapy was recommended, nearly all oncologists chose an intensive regimen if the patient's age was 63; but if her age was 85, one fourth of the oncologists chose a less intensive treatment. Likewise, for stage IIA breast cancer (ECOG score, 0), 93% recommended intensive adjuvant treatment for a previously healthy patient aged 63; but only 66% said they would do so if the patient's age was 75. Oncologists commonly identified patient age as an influence on treatment choice, but were even more likely to cite performance status as a determining factor.
Conclusions.
Advanced age can deter oncologists from choosing intensive cancer therapy, even if patients are highly functional and lack comorbidities. Education on tailoring cancer treatment and a greater use of comprehensive geriatric assessment may reduce cancer undertreatment in the geriatric population.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2009-0198
PMCID: PMC3227998  PMID: 20495217
Age factors; Antineoplastic agents/therapeutic use; Geriatric assessment; Health care disparities; Quality of health care
16.  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.
Purpose
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2007.14.4501
PMCID: PMC2654377  PMID: 18678838
17.  Neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy for resectable gastric cancer? A practice guideline 
Canadian Journal of Surgery  2002;45(6):438-446.
Objective
To make recommendations on the use of neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy in addition to surgery in patients with resectable gastric cancer (T1–4, N1–2, M0).
Options
Neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatments compared with “curative” surgery alone.
Outcomes
Overall survival, disease-free survival, and adverse effects.
Evidence
The MEDLINE, CANCERLIT and Cochrane Library databases and relevant conference proceedings were searched to identify randomized trials.
Values
Evidence was selected and reviewed by one member of the Cancer Care Ontario Practice Guidelines Initiative (CCOPGI) Gastrointestinal Cancer Disease Site Group and methodologists. A systematic review of the published literature was combined with a consensus process around the interpretation of the evidence in the context of conventional practice, to develop an evidence-based practice guideline. This report has been reviewed and approved by the Gastrointestinal Cancer Disease Site Group, comprising medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, a pathologist and 2 community representatives.
Benefits, harms and costs
When compared with surgery alone, at 3 years adjuvant chemoradiotherapy has been shown to increase overall survival by 9% (50% v. 41%, p = 0.005) and to improve relapse-free survival from 31% to 48% (p = 0.001). At 5 years, it has been shown to increase overall survival by 11.6% (40% v. 28.4%) and to improve relapse-free survival from 25% to 38% (p < 0.001). Treatment has been associated with toxic deaths in 1% of patients. The most frequent adverse effects (> grade 3 [Southwest Oncology Group toxicity scale] are hematologic (54%), gastrointestinal (33%), influenza-like (9%), infectious (6%) and neurologic (4%). The radiation fields used can possibly damage the left kidney, resulting in hypertension and other renal problems. Furthermore, this therapy could increase the demand on radiation resources. Physicians and patients should understand the tradeoffs between survival benefit and toxicity and cost before making treatment decisions.
Recommendations
After surgical resection, patients whose tumours have penetrated the muscularis propria or involve regional lymph nodes should be considered for adjuvant combined chemoradiotherapy. The current standard protocol consists of 1 cycle of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) (425 mg/m2 daily) and leucovorin (20 mg/m2 daily) administered daily for 5 days, followed 1 month later by 45 Gy (1.8 Gy/d) of radiation given with 5-FU (400 mg/m2 daily) and leucovorin (20 mg/m2 daily) on days 1 through 4 and the last 3 days of radiation. One month after completion of radiation, 2 cycles of 5-FU (425 mg/m2 daily) and leucovorin (20 mg/m2 daily) in a daily regimen for 5 days are given at monthly intervals. There is no evidence on which to make a recommendation for patients with node-negative tumours that have not penetrated the muscularis propria. For patients unable to undergo radiation, adjuvant chemotherapy alone may be of benefit, particularly for those with lymph-node metastases. The optimal regimen remains to be defined. There is insufficient evidence from randomized trials to recommend neoadjuvant chemotherapy, or neoadjuvant or adjuvant radiotherapy or immunotherapy, either alone or in combination, outside a clinical trial.
Validation
A draft version of this document was circulated to 166 clinicians using a 21-item feedback questionnaire. Ninety-nine (63%) returned the questionnaire, and 74 of these indicated that the guideline was relevant to their clinical practice and completed the survey. Of the 74 clinicians, 52 (70%) agreed that the document should be approved as a practice guideline.
Sponsors
The CCOPGI is supported by Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
PMCID: PMC3684659  PMID: 12500920
18.  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.
Purpose:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusion:
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.
doi:10.1200/JOP.2011.000303
PMCID: PMC3092466  PMID: 21886510
19.  Cost-Effectiveness of the 21-Gene Recurrence Score Assay in the Context of Multifactorial Decision Making to Guide Chemotherapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer 
Purpose
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
The findings provide supportive evidence for the economic value of the 21-gene RS assay in node-negative, estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer.
doi:10.1038/gim.2012.119
PMCID: PMC3743447  PMID: 22975761
Breast Neoplasms; Chemotherapy; Adjuvant; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Gene Expression; Health Care Costs; Prognosis
20.  Surgical management of early stage invasive breast cancer: a practice guideline 
Canadian Journal of Surgery  2005;48(3):185-194.
Objectives
To assess the available evidence on sentinel lymph-node biopsy, and to examine the long-term follow-up data from large randomized phase III trials comparing breast-conserving therapy with mastectomy in order to make recommendations on the surgical management of early invasive breast cancer (stages I and II), including the optimum management of the axillary nodes: for the breast — modified radical mastectomy or breast-conserving therapy; for the axilla — complete axillary node dissection, axillary dissection of levels I and II lymph nodes, sentinel lymph-node biopsy or no axillary node surgery.
Outcomes
Overall survival, disease-free survival, local recurrence, distant recurrence and quality of life.
Evidence
MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library databases and relevant conference proceedings were searched to identify randomized trials and meta-analyses. Two members of the Practice Guidelines Initiative, Breast Cancer Disease Site Group (BCDSG) selected and reviewed studies that met the inclusion criteria. The systematic literature review was combined with a consensus process for interpretation of the evidence to develop evidence-based recommendations. This practice guideline has been reviewed and approved by the BCDSG, comprising surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, a medical sociologist, a nurse representative and a community representative.
Benefits, harms and costs
Breast-conserving therapy (lumpectomy with levels I and II axillary node dissection, plus radiotherapy) provides comparable overall and disease-free survival to modified radical mastectomy. Levels I and II axillary dissection accurately stages the axilla and minimizes the morbidity of axillary recurrence but is associated with lymphedema in approximately 20% of patients and arm pain in approximately 33%. Currently, there is insufficient data regarding locoregional recurrence and long-term morbidity associated with sentinel-node biopsy to advocate it as the standard of care. Breast-conserving therapy may offer an advantage over mastectomy in terms of body image, psychological and social adjustment but appears equivalent with regard to marital adjustment, global adjustment and fear of recurrence.
Recommendations
Women who are eligible for breast-conserving surgery should be offered the choice of either breast-conserving therapy with axillary dissection or modified radical mastectomy. Removal and pathological examination of levels I and II axillary lymph nodes should be the standard practice in most cases of stages I and II breast carcinoma. There is promising but limited evidence to support recommendations regarding sentinel lymph-node biopsy alone. Patients should be encouraged to participate in clinical trials investigating this procedure.
Validation
A draft version of this practice guideline and a 21-item feedback questionnaire was circulated to 201 practitioners in Ontario. Of the 131 practitioners who returned the questionnaire, 98 (75%) completed the survey and indicated that the report was relevant to their clinical practice. Eighty (82%) of these practitioners agreed that the draft document should be approved as a practice guideline.
Sponsors
The Practice Guidelines Initiative is supported by Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Completion date
Jan. 21, 2003.
PMCID: PMC3211547  PMID: 16013621
21.  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.
Purpose.
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).
Results.
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.
Conclusions.
The 21-gene assay appears cost-effective from a Canadian health care perspective.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2009-0275
PMCID: PMC3227972  PMID: 20421264
Cost-effectiveness analysis; 21-gene assay; Early breast cancer; Oncotype DX
22.  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
23.  Cancer Screening with Digital Mammography for Women at Average Risk for Breast Cancer, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for Women at High Risk 
Executive Summary
Objective
The purpose of this review is to determine the effectiveness of 2 separate modalities, digital mammography (DM) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), relative to film mammography (FM), in the screening of women asymptomatic for breast cancer. A third analysis assesses the effectiveness and safety of the combination of MRI plus mammography (MRI plus FM) in screening of women at high risk. An economic analysis was also conducted.
Research Questions
How does the sensitivity and specificity of DM compare to FM?
How does the sensitivity and specificity of MRI compare to FM?
How do the recall rates compare among these screening modalities, and what effect might this have on radiation exposure? What are the risks associated with radiation exposure?
How does the sensitivity and specificity of the combination of MRI plus FM compare to either MRI or FM alone?
What are the economic considerations?
Clinical Need
The effectiveness of FM with respect to breast cancer mortality in the screening of asymptomatic average- risk women over the age of 50 has been established. However, based on a Medical Advisory Secretariat review completed in March 2006, screening is not recommended for women between the ages of 40 and 49 years. Guidelines published by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Care recommend mammography screening every 1 to 2 years for women aged 50 years and over, hence, the inclusion of such women in organized breast cancer screening programs. In addition to the uncertainty of the effectiveness of mammography screening from the age of 40 years, there is concern over the risks associated with mammographic screening for the 10 years between the ages of 40 and 49 years.
The lack of effectiveness of mammography screening starting at the age of 40 years (with respect to breast cancer mortality) is based on the assumption that the ability to detect cancer decreases with increased breast tissue density. As breast density is highest in the premenopausal years (approximately 23% of postmenopausal and 53% of premenopausal women having at least 50% of the breast occupied by high density), mammography screening is not promoted in Canada nor in many other countries for women under the age of 50 at average risk for breast cancer. It is important to note, however, that screening of premenopausal women (i.e., younger than 50 years of age) at high risk for breast cancer by virtue of a family history of cancer or a known genetic predisposition (e.g., having tested positive for the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and/or BRCA2) is appropriate. Thus, this review will assess the effectiveness of breast cancer screening with modalities other than film mammography, specifically DM and MRI, for both pre/perimenopausal and postmenopausal age groups.
International estimates of the epidemiology of breast cancer show that the incidence of breast cancer is increasing for all ages combined whereas mortality is decreasing, though at a slower rate. The observed decreases in mortality rates may be attributable to screening, in addition to advances in breast cancer therapy over time. Decreases in mortality attributable to screening may be a result of the earlier detection and treatment of invasive cancers, in addition to the increased detection of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), of which certain subpathologies are less lethal. Evidence from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (better known as SEER) cancer registry in the United States, indicates that the age-adjusted incidence of DCIS has increased almost 10-fold over a 20 year period, from 2.7 to 25 per 100,000.
There is a 4-fold lower incidence of breast cancer in the 40 to 49 year age group than in the 50 to 69 year age group (approximately 140 per 100,000 versus 500 per 100,000 women, respectively). The sensitivity of FM is also lower among younger women (approximately 75%) than for women aged over 50 years (approximately 85%). Specificity is approximately 80% for younger women versus 90% for women over 50 years. The increased density of breast tissue in younger women is likely responsible for the decreased accuracy of FM.
Treatment options for breast cancer vary with the stage of disease (based on tumor size, involvement of surrounding tissue, and number of affected axillary lymph nodes) and its pathology, and may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Surgery is the first-line intervention for biopsy-confirmed tumors. The subsequent use of radiation, chemotherapy or hormonal treatments is dependent on the histopathologic characteristics of the tumor and the type of surgery. There is controversy regarding the optimal treatment of DCIS, which is considered a noninvasive tumour.
Women at high risk for breast cancer are defined as genetic carriers of the more commonly known breast cancer genes (BRCA1, BRCA2 TP53), first degree relatives of carriers, women with varying degrees of high risk family histories, and/or women with greater than 20% lifetime risk for breast cancer based on existing risk models. Genetic carriers for this disease, primarily women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, have a lifetime probability of approximately 85% of developing breast cancer. Preventive options for these women include surgical interventions such as prophylactic mastectomy and/or oophorectomy, i.e., removal of the breasts and/or ovaries. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the benefits and risks of different screening modalities, to identify additional options for these women.
This Medical Advisory Secretariat review is the second of 2 parts on breast cancer screening, and concentrates on the evaluation of both DM and MRI relative to FM, the standard of care. Part I of this review (March 2006) addressed the effectiveness of screening mammography in 40 to 49 year old average-risk women. The overall objective of the present review is to determine the optimal screening modality based on the evidence.
Evidence Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat followed its standard procedures and searched the following electronic databases: Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and The International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment database. The subject headings and keywords searched included breast cancer, breast neoplasms, mass screening, digital mammography, magnetic resonance imaging. The detailed search strategies can be viewed in Appendix 1.
Included in this review are articles specific to screening and do not include evidence on diagnostic mammography. The search was further restricted to English-language articles published between January 1996 and April 2006. Excluded were case reports, comments, editorials, nonsystematic reviews, and letters.
Digital Mammography: In total, 224 articles specific to DM screening were identified. These were examined against the inclusion/exclusion criteria described below, resulting in the selection and review of 5 health technology assessments (HTAs) (plus 1 update) and 4 articles specific to screening with DM.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging: In total, 193 articles specific to MRI were identified. These were examined against the inclusion/exclusion criteria described below, resulting in the selection and review of 2 HTAs and 7 articles specific to screening with MRI.
The evaluation of the addition of FM to MRI in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer was also conducted within the context of standard search procedures of the Medical Advisory Secretariat. as outlined above. The subject headings and keywords searched included the concepts of breast cancer, magnetic resonance imaging, mass screening, and high risk/predisposition to breast cancer. The search was further restricted to English-language articles published between September 2007 and January 15, 2010. Case reports, comments, editorials, nonsystematic reviews, and letters were not excluded.
MRI plus mammography: In total, 243 articles specific to MRI plus FM screening were identified. These were examined against the inclusion/exclusion criteria described below, resulting in the selection and review of 2 previous HTAs, and 1 systematic review of 11 paired design studies.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles, and English or French-language HTAs published from January 1996 to April 2006, inclusive.
Articles specific to screening of women with no personal history of breast cancer.
Studies in which DM or MRI were compared with FM, and where the specific outcomes of interest were reported.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or paired studies only for assessment of DM.
Prospective, paired studies only for assessment of MRI.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies in which outcomes were not specific to those of interest in this report.
Studies in which women had been previously diagnosed with breast cancer.
Studies in which the intervention (DM or MRI) was not compared with FM.
Studies assessing DM with a sample size of less than 500.
Intervention
Digital mammography.
Magnetic resonance imaging.
Comparator
Screening with film mammography.
Outcomes of Interest
Breast cancer mortality (although no studies were found with such long follow-up).
Sensitivity.
Specificity.
Recall rates.
Summary of Findings
Digital Mammography
There is moderate quality evidence that DM is significantly more sensitive than FM in the screening of asymptomatic women aged less than 50 years, those who are premenopausal or perimenopausal, and those with heterogeneously or extremely dense breast tissue (regardless of age).
It is not known what effect these differences in sensitivity will have on the more important effectiveness outcome measure of breast cancer mortality, as there was no evidence of such an assessment.
Other factors have been set out to promote DM, for example, issues of recall rates and reading and examination times. Our analysis did not show that recall rates were necessarily improved in DM, though examination times were lower than for FM. Other factors including storage and retrieval of screens were not the subject of this analysis.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
There is moderate quality evidence that the sensitivity of MRI is significantly higher than that of FM in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer based on genetic or familial factors, regardless of age.
Radiation Risk Review
Cancer Care Ontario conducted a review of the evidence on radiation risk in screening with mammography women at high risk for breast cancer. From this review of recent literature and risk assessment that considered the potential impact of screening mammography in cohorts of women who start screening at an earlier age or who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer due to genetic susceptibility, the following conclusions can be drawn:
For women over 50 years of age, the benefits of mammography greatly outweigh the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer irrespective of the level of a woman’s inherent breast cancer risk.
Annual mammography for women aged 30 – 39 years who carry a breast cancer susceptibility gene or who have a strong family breast cancer history (defined as a first degree relative diagnosed in their thirties) has a favourable benefit:risk ratio. Mammography is estimated to detect 16 to 18 breast cancer cases for every one induced by radiation (Table 1). Initiation of screening at age 35 for this same group would increase the benefit:risk ratio to an even more favourable level of 34-50 cases detected for each one potentially induced.
Mammography for women under 30 years of age has an unfavourable benefit:risk ratio due to the challenges of detecting cancer in younger breasts, the aggressiveness of cancers at this age, the potential for radiation susceptibility at younger ages and a greater cumulative radiation exposure.
Mammography when used in combination with MRI for women who carry a strong breast cancer susceptibility (e.g., BRCA1/2 carriers), which if begun at age 35 and continued for 35 years, may confer greatly improved benefit:risk ratios which were estimated to be about 220 to one.
While there is considerable uncertainty in the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer, the risk expressed in published studies is almost certainly conservative as the radiation dose absorbed by women receiving mammography recently has been substantially reduced by newer technology.
A CCO update of the mammography radiation risk literature for 2008 and 2009 gave rise to one article by Barrington de Gonzales et al. published in 2009 (Barrington de Gonzales et al., 2009, JNCI, vol. 101: 205-209). This article focuses on estimating the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer for mammographic screening of young women at high risk for breast cancer (with BRCA gene mutations). Based on an assumption of a 15% to 25% or less reduction in mortality from mammography in these high risk women, the authors conclude that such a reduction is not substantially greater than the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer mortality when screening before the age of 34 years. That is, there would be no net benefit from annual mammographic screening of BRCA mutation carriers at ages 25-29 years; the net benefit would be zero or small if screening occurs in 30-34 year olds, and there would be some net benefit at age 35 years or older.
The Addition of Mammography to Magnetic Resonance Imaging
The effects of the addition of FM to MRI screening of high risk women was also assessed, with inclusion and exclusion criteria as follows:
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles and English or French-language HTAs published from September 2007 to January 15, 2010.
Articles specific to screening of women at high risk for breast cancer, regardless of the definition of high risk.
Studies in which accuracy data for the combination of MRI plus FM are available to be compared to that of MRI and FM alone.
RCTs or prospective, paired studies only.
Studies in which women were previously diagnosed with breast cancer were also included.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies in which outcomes were not specific to those of interest in this report.
Studies in which there was insufficient data on the accuracy of MRI plus FM.
Intervention
Both MRI and FM.
Comparators
Screening with MRI alone and FM alone.
Outcomes of Interest
Sensitivity.
Specificity.
Summary of Findings
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Plus Mammography
Moderate GRADE Level Evidence that the sensitivity of MRI plus mammography is significantly higher than that of MRI or FM alone, although the specificity remains either unchanged or decreases in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer based on genetic/familial factors, regardless of age.
These studies include women at high risk defined as BRCA1/2 or TP53 carriers, first degree relatives of carriers, women with varying degrees of high risk family histories, and/or >20% lifetime risk based on existing risk models. This definition of high risk accounts for approximately 2% of the female adult population in Ontario.
PMCID: PMC3377503  PMID: 23074406
24.  Clinical practice guidelines for the care and treatment of breast cancer: 16. Locoregional post-mastectomy radiotherapy 
Objective
To provide information and recommendations to assist women with breast cancer and their physicians in making decisions regarding the use of locoregional post-mastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT).
Outcomes
Locoregional control, disease-free survival, overall survival and treatment-related toxicities.
Evidence
This guideline is based on a review of all meta-analyses, consensus statements and other guidelines published between 1966 and November 2002. Searches of MEDLINE and CANCERLIT for English-language randomized controlled trials published between 1995 and November 2002 were also conducted to supplement the literature previously reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Health Services Research Committee panel in its published guideline. A nonsystematic review of the literature was continued through June 2003.
RecommendationsLocoregional PMRT is recommended for women with an advanced primary tumour (tumour size 5 cm or greater, or tumour invasion of the skin, pectoral muscle or chest wall).Locoregional PMRT is recommended for women with 4 or more positive axillary lymph nodes.The role of PMRT in women with 1 to 3 positive axillary lymph nodes is unclear. These women should be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of PMRT.Locoregional PMRT is generally not recommended for women who have tumours that are less than 5 cm in diameter and who have negative axillary nodes.Other patient, tumour and treatment characteristics, including age, histologic grade, lymphovascular invasion, hormone receptor status, number of axillary nodes removed, axillary extracapsular extension and surgical margin status, may affect locoregional control, but their use in specifying additional indications for PMRT is currently unclear.PMRT should encompass the chest wall and the supraclavicular, infraclavicular and axillary apical lymph node areas.To reduce the risk of lymphedema, radiation of the entire axilla should not be used routinely after complete axillary dissection of level I and II lymph nodes.A definite recommendation regarding the inclusion of the internal mammary lymph nodes in PMRT cannot be made because of limited and inconsistent data.The use of modern techniques in radiotherapy planning is recommended to minimize excessive normal tissue exposure, particularly to the cardiac and pulmonary structures.Common short-term side effects of PMRT, including fatigue and skin erythema, are generally tolerable and not dose-limiting. Severe long-term side effects, including lymphedema, cardiac and pulmonary toxicities, brachial plexopathy, rib fractures and secondary neoplasms, are relatively rare.The optimal sequencing of PMRT and systemic therapy is currently unclear. Regimens containing anthracyclines or taxanes should not be administered concurrently with radiotherapy because of the potential for increased toxicity.
Validation
The authors' original text was submitted for review, revision and approval by the Steering Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer. Subsequently, feedback was provided by 11 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
November 2003.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.1031000
PMCID: PMC385392  PMID: 15078851
25.  Subtyping of Breast Cancer by Immunohistochemistry to Investigate a Relationship between Subtype and Short and Long Term Survival: A Collaborative Analysis of Data for 10,159 Cases from 12 Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(5):e1000279.
Paul Pharoah and colleagues evaluate the prognostic significance of immunohistochemical subtype classification in more than 10,000 breast cancer cases with early disease, and examine the influence of a patient's survival time on the prediction of future survival.
Background
Immunohistochemical markers are often used to classify breast cancer into subtypes that are biologically distinct and behave differently. The aim of this study was to estimate mortality for patients with the major subtypes of breast cancer as classified using five immunohistochemical markers, to investigate patterns of mortality over time, and to test for heterogeneity by subtype.
Methods and Findings
We pooled data from more than 10,000 cases of invasive breast cancer from 12 studies that had collected information on hormone receptor status, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) status, and at least one basal marker (cytokeratin [CK]5/6 or epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR]) together with survival time data. Tumours were classified as luminal and nonluminal tumours according to hormone receptor expression. These two groups were further subdivided according to expression of HER2, and finally, the luminal and nonluminal HER2-negative tumours were categorised according to expression of basal markers. Changes in mortality rates over time differed by subtype. In women with luminal HER2-negative subtypes, mortality rates were constant over time, whereas mortality rates associated with the luminal HER2-positive and nonluminal subtypes tended to peak within 5 y of diagnosis and then decline over time. In the first 5 y after diagnosis the nonluminal tumours were associated with a poorer prognosis, but over longer follow-up times the prognosis was poorer in the luminal subtypes, with the worst prognosis at 15 y being in the luminal HER2-positive tumours. Basal marker expression distinguished the HER2-negative luminal and nonluminal tumours into different subtypes. These patterns were independent of any systemic adjuvant therapy.
Conclusions
The six subtypes of breast cancer defined by expression of five markers show distinct behaviours with important differences in short term and long term prognosis. Application of these markers in the clinical setting could have the potential to improve the targeting of adjuvant chemotherapy to those most likely to benefit. The different patterns of mortality over time also suggest important biological differences between the subtypes that may result in differences in response to specific therapies, and that stratification of breast cancers by clinically relevant subtypes in clinical trials is urgently required.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Each year, more than one million women discover they have breast cancer. Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast's milk-producing glands or in the tubes (ducts) that take milk to the nipples acquire genetic changes that allow them to divide uncontrollably and to move around the body (metastasize). The uncontrolled cell 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 women very ill. Generally speaking, the outlook (prognosis) for women with breast cancer is good. In the United States, for example, nearly 90% of affected women are still alive five years after their diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because there are several types of cells in the milk ducts and glands, there are several subtypes of breast cancer. Luminal tumors, for example, begin in the cells that line the ducts and glands and usually grow slowly; basal-type tumors arise in deeper layers of the ducts and glands and tend to grow quickly. Clinicians need to distinguish between different breast cancer subtypes so that they can give women a realistic prognosis and can give adjuvant treatments to those women who are most likely to benefit. One way to distinguish between different subtypes is to stain breast cancer samples using antibodies (immune system proteins) that recognize particular proteins (antigens). This “immunohistochemical” approach can identify several breast cancer subtypes but its prognostic value and the best way to classify breast tumors remains unclear. In this study, the researchers investigate the survival over time of women with six major subtypes of breast cancer classified using five immunohistochemical markers: the estrogen receptor and the progesterone receptor (two hormone receptors expressed by luminal cells), the human epidermal growth factors receptor-2 (HER2, a protein marker used to select specific adjuvant therapies), and CK5/6 and EGFR (proteins expressed by basal cells).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers pooled data on survival time and on the expression of the five immunohistochemical markers from more than 10,000 cases of breast cancer from 12 studies. They then divided the tumors into six subtypes on the basis of their marker expression: luminal (hormone receptor-positive), HER2-positive tumors; luminal, HER2-negative, basal marker-positive tumors; luminal, HER2-negative, basal marker-negative tumors; nonluminal (hormone receptor-negative), HER2-positive tumors; nonluminal, HER2-negative, basal marker-positive tumors; and nonluminal, HER2-negative, basal marker-negative tumors. In the first five years after diagnosis, women with nonluminal tumor subtypes had the worst prognosis but at 15 years after diagnosis, women with luminal HER2-positive tumors had the worst prognosis. Furthermore, death rates (the percentage of affected women dying each year) differed by subtype over time. Thus, women with the two luminal HER2-negative subtypes were as likely to die soon after diagnosis as at later times whereas the death rates associated with nonluminal subtypes peaked within five years of diagnosis and then declined.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings indicate that the six subtypes of breast cancer defined by the expression of five immunohistochemical markers have distinct biological characteristics that are associated with important differences in short-term and long-term outcomes. Because different laboratories measured the immunohistochemical markers using different methods, it is possible that some of the tumors included in this study were misclassified. However, the finding of clear differences in the behavior of the immunochemically classified subtypes suggests that the use of the five markers for tumor classification might be robust enough for routine clinical practice. The application of these markers in the clinical setting, suggest the researchers, could improve the targeting of adjuvant therapies to those women most likely to benefit. Furthermore, note the researchers, these findings strongly suggest that subtype-specific responses should be evaluated in future clinical trials of treatments for breast cancer.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000279.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Stefan Ambs
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of breast cancer (in English and Spanish)
The American Cancer Society has a detailed guide to breast cancer, which includes information on the immunochemical classification of breast cancer subtypes
The UK charities MacMillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK also provide detailed information about breast cancer
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia provides information for patients about breast cancer; Medline Plus provides links to many other breast cancer resources (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000279
PMCID: PMC2876119  PMID: 20520800

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