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1.  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
2.  Evaluating the efficacy of current clinical practice of adjuvant chemotherapy in postmenopausal women with early-stage, estrogen or progesterone receptor–positive, one-to-three positive axillary lymph node, breast cancer 
Current Oncology  2012;19(5):e319-e328.
Purpose
We evaluated the benefit of the current clinical practice of adjuvant chemotherapy for postmenopausal women with early-stage, estrogen- or progesterone-receptor-positive (er/pr+), one-to-three positive axillary lymph node (1–3 ln+), breast cancer (esbc).
Methods
Using the Manitoba Cancer Registry, we identified all postmenopausal women diagnosed with er/pr+ 1–3 ln+ esbc during the periods 1995–1997, 2000–2002, and 2003–2005 (n = 156, 161, and 171 respectively). Treatment data were obtained from the Manitoba Cancer Registry and by linkage with Manitoba administrative databases. Seven-year survival data were available for the 1995–1997 and 2000–2002 populations. Using Cox regression, we assessed the independent effect of the clinical practice of adjuvant chemotherapy on disease-free (dfs) and overall survival (os).
Results
Clinical breast cancer treatments did not differ significantly between the 2000–2002 and 2003–2005 populations. Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered in 103 patients in the 2000–2002 population (64%) and in 44 patients in the 1995–1997 population [28.2%; mean difference: 36%; 95% confidence interval (ci): 31% to 40%; p < 0.0001]. Compared with 1995–1997, 2000–2002 was not significantly associated with an incremental dfs benefit for patients over a period of 7 years (2000–2002 vs. 1995–1997; adjusted hazard ratio: 0.98; 95% ci: 0.64 to 1.4).
Conclusions
The treatment standard of adjuvant chemotherapy in addition to endocrine therapy may not be effective for all women with er/pr+ 1–3 ln+ esbc. There could be a subgroup of those women who do not benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy as expected and who are therefore being overtreated. Further studies with a larger sample size are warranted to confirm our results.
doi:10.3747/co.19.1038
PMCID: PMC3457883  PMID: 23144580
Breast cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy; clinical practice patterns
3.  Evaluating Use Characteristics for the Oncotype Dx 21-Gene Recurrence Score and Concordance With Chemotherapy Use in Early-Stage Breast Cancer 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2013;9(4):182-187.
Patients who are younger, have better ECOG performance status, or have higher grade tumors are more likely to undergo recurrence score testing.
Purpose:
Oncotype Dx 21-gene assay recurrence score (RS) predicts recurrence of early-stage breast cancer (ESBC). We investigated whether patient, tumor, or practice characteristics drive its use and explored Oncotype DX RS and chemotherapy use in subgroups.
Methods:
Patients with ESBC with documented estrogen receptor–positive, lymph node–negative, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–negative tumors registered within McKesson Specialty Health's iKnowMed electronic health record were included. Patient and practice characteristics by region and size were analyzed. The association between Oncotype DX RS value and use of chemotherapy were assessed.
Results:
The study included 6,229 patients. Of these, 1,822 (29%) had an Oncotype DX RS result. Test use was 36%, 38%, 34%, 25%, and 6%, respectively, in patients age ≤ 45, 46-55, 56-65, 66-75, and ≥ 76 years; 33%, 25%, and 9% in patients with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0, 1, and ≥ 2; 7%, 9%, 25%, 38%, 27%, and 10% in T1mic, T1a, T1b, T1c, T2, and T3 tumors; and 26%, 32%, and 33% for grades 1, 2, and 3 tumors. Of the 1,822 patients with available Oncotype DX RS, adjuvant chemotherapy use was 6%, 42%, and 84% in the low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups.
Conclusion:
Patients who were younger, had better ECOG performance status, or had higher grade tumors were more likely to undergo RS testing. It appears that the RS test may have influenced the decision about whether to administer adjuvant chemotherapy: a low RS score was associated with lower chemotherapy use and a high RS score was associated with higher chemotherapy use.
doi:10.1200/JOP.2012.000638
PMCID: PMC3710166  PMID: 23942918
4.  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
5.  Assessment of HER2 testing patterns, HER2+ disease, and the utilization of HER2-directed therapy in early breast cancer 
Context
Determining human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status is critical for the management of early-stage breast cancer (ESBC). An understanding of HER2 testing practices can provide insight into how test results influence the use of HER2-directed therapy.
Objective
To assess HER2 testing, HER2+ disease, and HER2-directed therapy in ESBC at the Huntsman Cancer Institute before and after the 2007 American Society of Clinical Oncology and College of American Pathologist (ASCO/CAP) guidelines on HER2 testing were published.
Methods
Patients were identified from an institutional tumor registry. HER2 testing patterns and results were examined using a chart review of pathology and clinical notes. Patient characteristics, HER2+ rate, and trastuzumab use were evaluated descriptively. Discordance rate with reflex testing (immunohistochemistry [IHC]2+ retested by fluorescence in situ hybridization [FISH]) was also evaluated.
Results
A total of 1,459 women were included (mean age: 57 years). The rate of HER2+ disease was 17% (number [N] =245). The discordance rate between IHC2+ and FISH was 10%. After the 2007 ASCO/CAP guidelines, fewer tumors were classified as IHC3+ (16% post- versus 21.9% pre-2007), more tumors were characterized as IHC2+ (26.4% post- versus 20.7% pre-2007), and the overall HER2+ rate was decreased (18.7% versus 21.9%), but this was not statistically significant (P=0.519). Most patients with HER2+ ESBC received HER2-targeted therapy (N=185).
Conclusion
The HER2+ rate was 17% and within the range of the reported rates in the literature. Reflex testing identified additional HER2+ tumors by approximately 10%, and should be considered a potential quality indicator. ASCO/CAP HER2 testing guidelines in 2007 appeared to impact the interpretation and classification of HER2+ tumors.
doi:10.2147/BCTT.S69416
PMCID: PMC4218922  PMID: 25378949
human epidermal growth factor receptor 2; HER2; early-stage breast cancer; immunohistochemistry; FISH; HER2-targeted therapy
6.  A Pilot Study of Predictive Markers of Chemotherapy-Related Amenorrhea Among Premenopausal Women with Early Stage Breast Cancer 
Cancer investigation  2008;26(3):286-295.
Background
Premenopausal women treated for early stage breast cancer (ESBC) are at risk for chemotherapy-related amenorrhea (CRA). Prospectively-validated, predictive markers of CRA are needed.
Patients and Methods
Premenopausal women with ESBC and planned chemotherapy (≥ 25% risk of amenorrhea) were evaluated. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, Inhibin A and B, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), and quality of life (QOL) were prospectively evaluated pre-, post-, 6 months and 1 year post-chemotherapy and correlated with age and menstrual status. CRA was defined as absence of menses 1 year post-chemotherapy.
Results
Forty-four women were evaluated at the time of analysis. Median age at diagnosis and FSH 1 year post-chemotherapy were higher among women with CRA (44 yrs [33–51] vs. 40 yrs [31–43]; p = 0.03; 39.8 vs. 5.0 mLU/mL, p = 0.0058, respectively). Median estradiol 1 year post-chemotherapy was higher among women who resumed menses (108.3 vs. 41.3 pg/mL, p = 0.01). Pre-chemotherapy median Inhibin B and AMH were lower among women with CRA (33.2 vs. 108.8 pg/mL; p = 0.03; 0.16 vs. 1.09 ng/mL, p = 0.02, respectively). The risk of CRA was increased among women with lower pre-chemotherapy Inhibin B (RR = 1.67, p = 0.15) and AMH (RR = 1.83, p = 0.05). Amongst women whose pre-chemotherapy Inhibin B and AMH values were below the median, the incidence of CRA was 87.5%.
Conclusions
Results indicate that pre-chemotherapy Inhibin B and AMH are lower among women experiencing CRA and may be predictive of CRA among premenopausal women facing chemotherapy for ESBC.
doi:10.1080/07357900701829777
PMCID: PMC2883164  PMID: 18317970
Amenorrhea; Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Premenopausal; Quality of life
7.  Dose Intensity in Early-Stage Breast Cancer: A Community Practice Experience 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2009;5(6):287-290.
Although nodal status, grade, size, and receptor status play roles in determining breast cancer prognosis, there is increasing evidence that maintaining dose intensity of adjuvant chemotherapy increases disease-free survival rate.
Purpose:
This retrospective study was a quality initiative to determine practice patterns in adjuvant chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer (ESBC) and define the incidence and causative factors of suboptimal relative dose intensity (RDI). Our community-based practice participates in ASCO's Quality Oncology Practice Initiative in an effort to improve the quality of care provided to our patients. Most metrics do not have a direct proven correlation with improvement in survival, but measurement of RDI does.
Patients and Methods:
Our study was a retrospective analysis of patients with ESBC. Each patient was treated on an outpatient basis in a community practice setting. We used the diagnosis criteria of breast cancer to create a list of eligible patients within the data range from our electronic medical record. Inclusion criteria consisted of all women seen in our offices receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for a diagnosis of breast cancer. Exclusion criteria included patients with metastatic disease and patients not receiving chemotherapy.
Results:
The average weighted RDI for all patients was 98.4%. Of the 834 evaluable patients we reviewed, 102 patients (12.2%) had some reduction in RDI. This subset had an average RDI of 88%. Twenty-nine patients (3.5%) had an RDI of less than 85%.
Conclusion:
Because decreased RDI has been shown to correlate with decreased overall and disease-free survival rates, we were compelled to measure and determine causative factors in our patients with ESBC. The primary reasons for dose delay and overall reduction in RDI were scheduling and neutropenia. Scheduling delays were initiated by both patients and medical staff, with the majority requested by patients.
doi:10.1200/JOP.091036
PMCID: PMC2869188  PMID: 21479074
8.  Societal cost-effectiveness analysis of the 21-gene assay in estrogen-receptor–positive, lymph-node–negative early-stage breast cancer in Japan 
Background
Breast-cancer incidence and mortality have been increasing in Japan. Japanese-specific clinical validity and utility data for the 21-gene assay (Oncotype DX® Breast Cancer Assay; Genomic Health, Inc., Redwood City, USA) are now available. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the 21-gene assay for the guidance of adjuvant chemotherapy decisions in estrogen-receptor–positive, lymph-node–negative, early-stage breast cancer patients, from the Japanese societal perspective.
Methods
The recurrence risk group distribution by the 21-gene assay result and the assay’s influence on adjuvant chemotherapy recommendations were obtained from a study of 104 patients. A state-transition cohort (Markov) model tracked time from surgery until distant recurrence and from distant recurrence to death. Adjuvant chemotherapy benefit by 21-gene assay risk group was based on published clinical validation studies. Direct and indirect medical costs were obtained from the referral centers. Utilities associated with progression and chemotherapy-related adverse events were extracted from literature. Sensitivity analyses assessed the key drivers and robustness of the primary outcomes.
Results
The 21-gene assay identified 48% of patients as low-risk, 36% as intermediate-risk, and 16% as high-risk. Total acute chemotherapy-related costs decreased by ¥154,066 due to less adjuvant chemotherapy usage. In the high-risk group, adjuvant chemotherapy use increased 18%, leading to survival benefits. Chemotherapy use overall decreased by 19%. Monitoring costs increased by ¥3,744 but recurrence costs declined by ¥46,113 per patient. Use of the 21-gene assay increased quality-adjusted–life-years (QALYs) by 0.241 per patient on average; the net cost per QALY gained was ¥636,752 ($6,368).
Conclusions
The 21-gene assay for women with estrogen-receptor–positive, lymph-node–negative, early-stage breast cancer is projected to be cost-effective in Japan.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-372
PMCID: PMC4165904  PMID: 25190451
Breast cancer; Cost-effectiveness; Cost-benefit; Molecular diagnostic testing; Genetic testing
9.  Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Recurrence Score-Guided Treatment Using a 21-Gene Assay in Early Breast Cancer 
The Oncologist  2010;15(5):457-465.
This article develops a model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of recurrence score-guided treatment using 21-gene assay as compared with treatment guided by the Adjuvant! Online program; the study concludes that the 21-gene assay appears to be cost effective from a Canadian health care perspective.
Purpose.
Most guidelines for hormone receptor (HR)–positive early breast cancer recommend addition of adjuvant chemotherapy for most women, leading to overtreatment, which causes considerable morbidity and cost. There has been recent incorporation of gene expression analysis in aiding decision making. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of recurrence score (RS)–guided treatment using 21-gene assay as compared with treatment guided by the Adjuvant! Online program (AOL).
Patients and Methods.
A Markov model was developed to compare the cost-effectiveness of treatment guided either by 21-gene assay or by AOL in a 50-year-old woman with lymph node–negative HR-positive breast cancer over a lifetime horizon. We assumed that women classified to be at high risk all received chemotherapy followed by tamoxifen and those classified to be at low risk received tamoxifen only. The model took a health care payer's perspective with results reported in 2008 Canadian dollars ($). 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
10.  Polymorphic repeat in AIB1 does not alter breast cancer risk 
Breast Cancer Research : BCR  2000;2(5):378-385.
We assessed the association between a glutamine repeat polymorphism in AIB1 and breast cancer risk in a case-control study (464 cases, 624 controls) nested within the Nurses' Health Study cohort. We observed no association between AIB1 genotype and breast cancer incidence, or specific tumor characteristics. These findings suggest that AIB1 repeat genotype does not influence postmenopausal breast cancer risk among Caucasian women in the general population.
Introduction:
A causal association between endogenous and exogenous estrogens and breast cancer has been established. Steroid hormones regulate the expression of proteins that are involved in breast cell proliferation and development after binding to their respective steroid hormone receptors. Coactivator and corepressor proteins have recently been identified that interact with steroid hormone receptors and modulate transcriptional activation [1]. AIB1 (amplified in breast 1) is a member of the steroid receptor coactivator (SRC) family that interacts with estrogen receptor (ER)α in a ligand-dependent manner, and increases estrogen-dependent transcription [2]. Amplification and overexpression of AIB1 has been observed in breast and ovarian cancer cell lines and in breast tumors [2,3]. A polymorphic stretch of glutamine amino acids, with unknown biologic function, has recently been described in the carboxyl-terminal region of AIB1 [4]. Among women with germline BRCA1 mutations, significant positive associations were observed between AIB1 alleles with 26 or fewer glutamine repeats and breast cancer risk [5]
Aim:
To establish whether AIB1 repeat alleles are associated with breast cancer risk and specific tumor characteristics among Caucasian women.
Patients and methods:
We evaluated associations prospectively between AIB1 alleles and breast cancer risk in the Nurses' Health Study using a nested case-control design. The Nurses' Health Study was initiated in 1976, when 121 700 US-registered nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 years returned an initial questionnaire reporting medical histories and baseline health-related exposures. Between 1989 and 1990 blood samples were collected from 32 826 women. Eligible cases in this study consisted of women with pathologically confirmed incident breast cancer from the subcohort who gave a blood specimen. Cases with a diagnosis anytime after blood collection up to June 1, 1994, with no previously diagnosed cancer except for nonmelanoma skin cancer were included. Controls were randomly selected participants who gave a blood sample and were free of diagnosed cancer (except nonmelanoma skin cancer) up to and including the interval in which the cases were diagnosed, and were matched to cases on year of birth, menopausal status, postmenopausal hormone use, and time of day, month and fasting status at blood sampling. The nested case-control study consisted of 464 incident breast cancer cases and 624 matched controls. The protocol was approved by the Committee on Human Subjects, Brigham and Womens' Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts USA. Information regarding breast cancer risk factors was obtained from the 1976 baseline questionnaire, subsequent biennial questionnaires, and a questionnaire that was completed at the time of blood sampling. Histopathologic characteristics, such as stage, tumor size and ER and progesterone receptor (PR) status, were ascertained from medical records when available and used in case subgroup analyses.
AIB1 repeat alleles were determined by automated fluorescence-based fragment detection from polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified DNA extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes. Fluorescent 5' -labeled primers were utilized for PCR amplification, and glutamine repeat number discrimination was performed using the ABI Prism 377 DNA Sequencer (Perkin-Elmer, Foster City, CA, USA). Genotyping was performed by laboratory personnel who were blinded to case-control status, and blinded quality control samples were inserted to validate genotyping identification procedures (n = 110); concordance for the blinded samples was 100%. Methods regarding plasma hormone assays have previously been reported [6]. Conditional and unconditional logistic regression models, including terms for the matching variables and other potential confounders, were used to assess the association of AIB1 alleles and breast cancer characterized by histologic subtype, stage of disease, and ER and PR status. We also evaluated whether breast cancer risk associated with AIB1 genotype differed within strata of established breast cancer risk factors, and whether repeat length in AIB1 indirectly influenced plasma hormone levels.
Results:
The case-control comparisons of established breast cancer risk factors among these women have previously been reported [7], and are generally consistent with expectation. The mean age of the women was 58.3 (standard deviation [SD] 7.1) years, ranging from 43 to 69 years at blood sampling. There were 188 premenopausal and 810 postmenopausal women, with mean ages of 48.1 (SD 2.8) years and 61.4 (SD 5.0) years, respectively, at blood sampling. Women in this study were primarily white; Asians, African-Americans and Hispanics comprised less than 1% of cases or controls.
The distribution of AIB1 glutamine repeat alleles and AIB1 genotypes for cases and controls are presented in Table 1. Women with AIB1 alleles of 26 glutamine repeats or fewer were not at increased risk for breast cancer (odds ratio [OR] 1.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.75-1.36; Table 2). Results were also similar by menopausal status and in analyses additionally adjusting for established breast cancer risk factors. Among premenopausal women, the OR for women with at least one allele with 26 glutamine repeats or fewer was 0.82 (95% Cl 0.37-1.81), and among postmenopausal women the OR was 1.09 (95% Cl 0.78-1.52; Table 2). We did not observe evidence of a positive association between shorter repeat length and advanced breast cancer, defined as women with breast cancer having one or more involved nodes (OR 1.07, 95% Cl 0.64-1.78), or with cancers with a hormone-dependent phenotype (ER-positive: OR 1.16, 95% Cl 0.81-1.65; Table 3). No associations were observed among women who had one or more alleles with 26 glutamine repeats or fewer, with or without a family history of breast cancer (family history: OR 1.09; 95% Cl 0.46-2.58; no family history: OR 0.94; 95% Cl 0.68-1.31; test for interaction P = 0.65). We also did not observe associations with breast cancer risk to be modified by other established breast cancer risk factors. Among postmenopausal controls not using postmenopausal hormones, geometric least-squared mean plasma levels of estrone sulfate and estrone were similar among carriers and noncarriers of AIB1 alleles with 26 glutamine repeats or fewer (both differences: ≤ +3.5%; P >0.50). Mean levels of estradiol were slightly, but nonsignificantly elevated among carriers of alleles with 26 glutamine repeats or fewer (+11.6%; P = 0.08).
Discussion:
In this population-based nested case-control study, women with at most 26 repeating glutamine codons (CAG/CAA) within the carboxyl terminus of AIB1 were not at increased risk for breast cancer. We did not observe shorter repeat alleles to be positively associated with breast cancer grouped by histologic subtype, stage of disease, or by ER and PR status. These data suggest that AIB1 repeat length is not a strong independent risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, and does not modify the clinical presentation of the tumor among Caucasian women in the general population.
PMCID: PMC13920  PMID: 11056690
AIB1 polymorphism; breast cancer; genetic susceptibility; molecular epidemiology
11.  Promotional Tone in Reviews of Menopausal Hormone Therapy After the Women's Health Initiative: An Analysis of Published Articles 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000425.
Adriane Fugh-Berman and colleagues analyzed a selection of published opinion pieces on hormone therapy and show that there may be a connection between receiving industry funding for speaking, consulting, or research and the tone of such opinion pieces.
Background
Even after the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) found that the risks of menopausal hormone therapy (hormone therapy) outweighed benefit for asymptomatic women, about half of gynecologists in the United States continued to believe that hormones benefited women's health. The pharmaceutical industry has supported publication of articles in medical journals for marketing purposes. It is unknown whether author relationships with industry affect promotional tone in articles on hormone therapy. The goal of this study was to determine whether promotional tone could be identified in narrative review articles regarding menopausal hormone therapy and whether articles identified as promotional were more likely to have been authored by those with conflicts of interest with manufacturers of menopausal hormone therapy.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed tone in opinion pieces on hormone therapy published in the four years after the estrogen-progestin arm of the WHI was stopped. First, we identified the ten authors with four or more MEDLINE-indexed reviews, editorials, comments, or letters on hormone replacement therapy or menopausal hormone therapy published between July 2002 and June 2006. Next, we conducted an additional search using the names of these authors to identify other relevant articles. Finally, after author names and affiliations were removed, 50 articles were evaluated by three readers for scientific accuracy and for tone. Scientific accuracy was assessed based on whether or not the findings of the WHI were accurately reported using two criteria: (1) Acknowledgment or lack of denial of the risk of breast cancer diagnosis associated with hormone therapy, and (2) acknowledgment that hormone therapy did not benefit cardiovascular disease endpoints. Determination of promotional tone was based on the assessment by each reader of whether the article appeared to promote hormone therapy. Analysis of inter-rater consistency found moderate agreement for scientific accuracy (κ = 0.57) and substantial agreement for promotional tone (κ = 0.65). After discussion, readers found 86% of the articles to be scientifically accurate and 64% to be promotional in tone. Themes that were common in articles considered promotional included attacks on the methodology of the WHI, arguments that clinical trial results should not guide treatment for individuals, and arguments that observational studies are as good as or better than randomized clinical trials for guiding clinical decisions. The promotional articles we identified also implied that the risks associated with hormone therapy have been exaggerated and that the benefits of hormone therapy have been or will be proven. Of the ten authors studied, eight were found to have declared payment for speaking or consulting on behalf of menopausal hormone manufacturers or for research support (seven of these eight were speakers or consultants). Thirty of 32 articles (90%) evaluated as promoting hormone therapy were authored by those with potential financial conflicts of interest, compared to 11 of 18 articles (61%) by those without such conflicts (p = 0.0025). Articles promoting the use of menopausal hormone therapy were 2.41 times (95% confidence interval 1.49–4.93) as likely to have been authored by authors with conflicts of interest as by authors without conflicts of interest. In articles from three authors with conflicts of interest some of the same text was repeated word-for-word in different articles.
Conclusion
There may be a connection between receiving industry funding for speaking, consulting, or research and the publication of promotional opinion pieces on menopausal hormone therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Over the past three decades, menopausal hormones have been heavily promoted for preventing disease in women. However, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study—which enrolled more than 26,000 women in the US and which was published in 2004—found that estrogen-progestin and estrogen-only formulations (often prescribed to women around the age of menopause) increased the risk of stroke, deep vein thrombosis, dementia, and incontinence. Furthermore, this study found that the estrogen-progestin therapy increased rates of breast cancer. In fact, the estrogen-progestin arm of the WHI study was stopped in 2002 due to harmful findings, and the estrogen-only arm was stopped in 2004, also because of harmful findings. In addition, the study also found that neither therapy reduced cardiovascular risk or markedly benefited health-related quality of life measures.
Despite these results, two years after the results of WHI study were published, a survey of over 700 practicing gynecologists—the specialists who prescribe the majority of menopausal hormone therapies—in the US found that almost half did not find the findings of the WHI study convincing and that 48% disagreed with the decision to stop the trial early. Furthermore, follow-up surveys found similar results.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is unclear why gynecologists and other physicians continue to prescribe menopausal hormone therapies despite the results of the WHI. Some academics argue that published industry-funded reviews and commentaries may be designed to convey specific, but subtle, marketing messages and several academic analyses have used internal industry documents disclosed in litigation cases. So this study was conducted to investigate whether hormone therapy–promoting tone could be identified in narrative review articles and if so, whether these articles were more likely to have been authored by people who had accepted funding from hormone manufacturers.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search that identified 340 relevant articles published between July 2002 and June 2006—the four years following the cessation of the estrogen-progestin arm of the women's health initiative study. Ten authors had published four to six articles, 47 authored two or three articles, and 371 authored one article each. The researchers focused on authors who had published four or more articles in the four-year period under study and, after author names and affiliations were removed, 50 articles were evaluated by three readers for scientific accuracy and for tone. After individually analyzing a batch of articles, the readers met to provide their initial assessments, to discuss them, and to reach consensus on tone and scientific accuracy. Then after the papers were evaluated, each author was identified and the researchers searched for authors' potential financial conflicts of interest, defined as publicly disclosed information that the authors had received payment for research, speaking, or consulting on behalf of a manufacturer of menopausal hormone therapy.
Common themes in the 50 articles included arguments that clinical trial results should not guide treatment for individuals and suggestions that the risks associated with hormone therapy have been exaggerated and that the benefits of hormone therapy have been or will be proven. Furthermore, of the ten authors studied, eight were found to have received payment for research, speaking or consulting on behalf of menopause hormone manufacturers, and 30 of 32 articles evaluated as promoting hormone therapy were authored by those with potential financial conflicts of interest. Articles promoting the use of menopausal hormone therapy were more than twice as likely to have been written by authors with conflicts of interest as by authors without conflicts of interest. Furthermore, Three authors who were identified as having financial conflicts of interest were authors on articles where sections of their previously published articles were repeated word-for-word without citation.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this study suggest that there may be a link between receiving industry funding for speaking, consulting, or research and the publication of apparently promotional opinion pieces on menopausal hormone therapy. Furthermore, such publications may encourage physicians to continue prescribing these therapies to women of menopausal age. Therefore, physicians and other health care providers should interpret the content of review articles with caution. In addition, medical journals should follow the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts, which require that all authors submit signed statements of their participation in authorship and full disclosure of any conflicts of interest.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000425.
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more information on the Womens Health Initiative
The US National Institutes of Health provide more information about the effects of menopausal hormone replacement therapy
The Office of Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides information on menopausal hormone therapy
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts presents Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts published in biomedical journals
The National Womens Health Network, a consumer advocacy group that takes no industry money, has factsheets and articles about menopausal hormone therapy
PharmedOut, a Georgetown University Medical Center project, has many resources on pharmaceutical marketing practices
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000425
PMCID: PMC3058057  PMID: 21423581
12.  Breast cancer quality of life evaluation in Mexican Women at La Raza Hospital, Mexico City: A preliminary approach 
Breast cancer (BC) is the second leading cause of death among Mexican women over 40 years of age. This study aimed to identify and examine the effects of cancer stage and surgical treatment on the quality of life (QOL) of Mexican women with early stage breast cancer (ESBC) treated with either modified radical mastectomy (MRM) or breast conservative surgery (BCS), plus adjuvant chemotherapy. The QLQ-C30 and QLQ BR-23 questionnaires were used to assess QOL. Sociodemographic characteristics and clinical factors of 102 women with early BC were also evaluated; analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed and a statistical significance of p < 0.05 was assumed. Most women were of reproductive age. Meaningful differences in QOL as a result of surgical treatment, in women receiving BCS compared with those receiving MRM, were limited to body image. We conclude that MRM and BCS are essentially equivalent choices in terms of QOL, with the exception of the impact on body image. In general, women who received BCS had a better perceived QOL.
PMCID: PMC3169990  PMID: 21935301
quality of life; breast cancer; Mexican women
13.  Hip Fracture Incidence in Relation to Age, Menopausal Status, and Age at Menopause: Prospective Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(11):e1000181.
Using data from the UK Million Women Study, Emily Banks and colleagues investigate the relationships between the incidence of hip fracture and a woman's age, menopausal status, and age at menopause.
Background
Bone mineral density is known to decrease rapidly after the menopause. There is limited evidence about the separate contributions of a woman's age, menopausal status and age at menopause to the incidence of hip fracture.
Methods and Findings
Over one million middle-aged women joined the UK Million Women Study in 1996–2001 providing information on their menopausal status, age at menopause, and other factors, which was updated, where possible, 3 y later. All women were registered with the UK National Health Service (NHS) and were routinely linked to information on cause-specific admissions to NHS hospitals. 561,609 women who had never used hormone replacement therapy and who provided complete information on menopausal variables (at baseline 25% were pre/perimenopausal and 75% postmenopausal) were followed up for a total of 3.4 million woman-years (an average 6.2 y per woman). During follow-up 1,676 (0.3%) were admitted to hospital with a first incident hip fracture. Among women aged 50–54 y the relative risk (RR) of hip fracture risk was significantly higher in postmenopausal than premenopausal women (adjusted RR 2.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.22–4.04; p = 0.009); there were too few premenopausal women aged 55 y and over for valid comparisons. Among postmenopausal women, hip fracture incidence increased steeply with age (p<0.001), with rates being about seven times higher at age 70–74 y than at 50–54 y (incidence rates of 0.82 versus 0.11 per 100 women over 5 y). Among postmenopausal women of a given age there was no significant difference in hip fracture incidence between women whose menopause was due to bilateral oophorectomy compared to a natural menopause (adjusted RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.94–1.55; p = 0.15), and age at menopause had little, if any, effect on hip fracture incidence.
Conclusions
At around the time of the menopause, hip fracture incidence is about twice as high in postmenopausal than in premenopausal women, but this effect is short lived. Among postmenopausal women, age is by far the main determinant of hip fracture incidence and, for women of a given age, their age at menopause has, at most, a weak additional effect.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Anyone can break a hip but most hip fractures occur in elderly people. As people age, their bones gradually lose minerals and become less dense, which weakens the bones and makes them more susceptible to fracture. Because women lose bone density faster than men as they age and because women constitute the majority of the elderly, three-quarters of hip fractures occur in women. Hip fractures can cause long-term health problems and premature death. Thus, although surgical repair of a broken hip usually only requires a hospital stay of about a week, a quarter of elderly people who were living independently before their fracture have to stay in a nursing home for at least a year after their injury and a fifth of elderly people who break a hip die within the year. Most hip fractures are caused by falls. Regular exercise to improve strength and balance combined with review of medicines (to reduce side effects and interactions), regular eye examinations, and the removal of fall hazards from the home can help to prevent hip fractures in elderly people.
Why Was This Study Done?
Bone density decreases very rapidly in women immediately after menopause—the time when menstruation permanently stops—and then continues to decrease more slowly with age. Most women have their menopause in their early 50s but menopause can occur in younger women. Early menopause is thought to be a risk factor for osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and fractures later in life but little is known about how menopause influences hip fracture risk as women age. In this prospective study (a type of study in which a group of people is followed for several years to see whether they develop a particular condition), the researchers investigate the incidence of hip fractures in relation to age, menopausal status, and age at menopause among the participants of the Million Women Study. This study, which recruited 1.3 million women aged 50–64 years who attended UK breast cancer screening clinics between 1996 and 2001, has been investigating how reproductive and lifestyle factors affect women's health.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
At enrollment and three years later, the study participants provided information about their menopausal status and other health and lifestyle factors likely to affect their fracture risk. From these data, the researchers identified more than half a million women who had never used hormone replacement therapy (which reduces fracture risk) and who had given complete information about their menopausal status. They then looked for statistical associations between the occurrence of a first hip fracture in these women over the next few years and their age, menopausal status, and age at menopause. Among women aged 50–54 years, postmenopausal women were twice as likely to have a hip fracture as premenopausal women. Among postmenopausal women, the incidence of hip fractures increased steeply with age and was seven times higher in 70–74-year olds than in 50–54-year olds. Women who had their menopause before age 45 had a slightly increased risk of hip fracture but any effect of age at menopause on the risk of hip fracture was small compared to the effect of age itself, and the slightly increased risk may have been due to other factors that could not be fully accounted for in the analysis.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that around the time of menopause, although hip fractures are rare, the risk of a fracture in postmenopausal women is twice that in premenopausal women. The findings also show that among postmenopausal women, age is the major determinant of hip fracture risk and that for women of a given age, their age at menopause has little effect on hip fracture risk. Women attending breast cancer screening clinics and completing questionnaires about their health may not be representative of the general population. Furthermore, these findings rely on women self-reporting their menopausal status accurately. Nevertheless, the results of this study suggest that clinicians advising women about hip fracture prevention should probably base their advice on the woman's age and on age-related factors such as frailty rather than on factors related to menopause. Clinicians can also now reassure elderly women who had an early menopause that their risk of hip fracture is unlikely to be higher than that of similar women who had a later menopause.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000181.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has detailed information about hip fractures
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Muscoloskeletal and Skin Diseases has an interactive feature called “Check up on your bones and provides detailed information about osteoporosis, including advice on fall prevention
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a fact sheet about hip fractures among older adults
MedlinePlus has links to resources about hip fracture, osteoporosis, and menopause (in English and Spanish)
More information on the Million Women Study is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000181
PMCID: PMC2766835  PMID: 19901981
14.  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
15.  Menopausal status dependence of the timing of breast cancer recurrence after surgical removal of the primary tumour 
Breast Cancer Research  2004;6(6):R689-R696.
Introduction
Information on the metastasis process in breast cancer patients undergoing primary tumour removal may be extracted from an analysis of the timing of clinical recurrence.
Methods
The hazard rate for local-regional and/or distant recurrence as the first event during the first 4 years after surgery was studied in 1173 patients undergoing mastectomy alone as primary treatment for operable breast cancer. Subset analyses were performed according to tumour size, axillary nodal status and menopausal status.
Results
A sharp two-peaked hazard function was observed for node-positive pre-menopausal patients, whereas results from node-positive post-menopausal women always displayed a single broad peak. The first narrow peak among pre-menopausal women showed a very steep rise to a maximum about 8–10 months after mastectomy. The second peak was considerably broader, reaching its maximum at 28–30 months. Post-menopausal patients displayed a wide, nearly symmetrical peak with maximum risk at about 18–20 months. Peaks displayed increasing height with increasing axillary lymph node involvement. No multi-peaked pattern was evident for either pre-menopausal or post-menopausal node-negative patients; however, this finding should be considered cautiously because of the limited number of events. Tumour size influenced recurrence risk but not its timing. Findings resulting from the different subsets of patients were remarkably coherent and each observed peak maintained the same position on the time axis in all analysed subsets.
Conclusions
The risk of early recurrence for node positive patients is dependent on menopausal status. The amount of axillary nodal involvement and the tumour size modulate the risk value at any given time. For pre-menopausal node-positive patients, the abrupt increase of the first narrow peak of the recurrence risk suggests a triggering event that synchronises early risk. We suggest that this event is the surgical removal of the primary tumour. The later, broader, more symmetrical risk peaks indicate that some features of the corresponding metastatic development may present stochastic traits. A metastasis development model incorporating tumour dormancy in specific micro-metastatic phases, stochastic transitions between them and sudden acceleration of the metastatic process by surgery can explain these risk dynamics.
doi:10.1186/bcr937
PMCID: PMC1064084  PMID: 15535851
breast cancer; menopausal status; metastasis development model; recurrence timing; tumour dormancy
16.  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
17.  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
18.  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
19.  Survival Implications Associated with Variation in Mastectomy Rates for Early-Staged Breast Cancer 
Despite a 20-year-old guideline from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Conference recommending breast conserving surgery with radiation (BCSR) over mastectomy for woman with early-stage breast cancer (ESBC) because it preserves the breast, recent evidence shows mastectomy rates increasing and higher-staged ESBC patients are more likely to receive mastectomy. These observations suggest that some patients and their providers believe that mastectomy has advantages over BCSR and these advantages increase with stage. These beliefs may persist because the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that served as the basis for the NIH guideline were populated mainly with lower-staged patients. Our objective is to assess the survival implications associated with mastectomy choice by patient alignment with the RCT populations. We used instrumental variable methods to estimate the relationship between surgery choice and survival for ESBC patients based on variation in local area surgery styles. We find results consistent with the RCTs for patients closely aligned to the RCT populations. However, for patients unlike those in the RCTs, our results suggest that higher mastectomy rates are associated with reduced survival. We are careful to interpret our estimates in terms of limitations of our estimation approach.
doi:10.1155/2012/127854
PMCID: PMC3423912  PMID: 22928097
20.  High concentration of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor in the serum of women with primary breast cancer 
Contemporary Oncology  2013;17(5):440-445.
Aim of the study
The purpose of this study was to assess the concentration of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) in the serum of 103 women with breast cancer. Commonly recognized prognostic factors were taken into account, including age, histological grade of malignancy, stage of clinical advancement of the disease, status of local axillary lymph nodes and the size of the primary tumour.
Material and methods
The concentration of uPAR was assessed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (R&D Systems).
Results
The concentration of uPAR in women with breast cancer was found to be higher than in a control group and the difference was statistically significant. The concentration of uPAR was found to increase in line with increasing disease stage and this too was of statistical significance. Raised levels of uPAR were found in women with breast cancer both with and without metastases to the lymph nodes of the axilla. A positive relationship was also found between the concentration of the tested receptor and the size of the primary tumour. No significant relationship, however, was found between the concentration of uPAR and the histological grade of malignancy of the tumour. No statistically significant results were obtained regarding the menopausal status of the women, that is, whether they were pre- or post-menopausal.
Conclusions
Concentration of uPAR in serum of women with breast cancer is positively correlated with the stage of advancement of the disease. Thus, the assessment of this parameter can be useful in the clinical evaluation of women with breast cancer.
doi:10.5114/wo.2013.38567
PMCID: PMC3934023  PMID: 24596533
fibrinolysis; metastasis; breast cancer; uPAR; plasminogen activation system
21.  Risk Prediction for Breast, Endometrial, and Ovarian Cancer in White Women Aged 50 y or Older: Derivation and Validation from Population-Based Cohort Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001492.
Ruth Pfeiffer and colleagues describe models to calculate absolute risks for breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers for white, non-Hispanic women over 50 years old using easily obtainable risk factors.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers share some hormonal and epidemiologic risk factors. While several models predict absolute risk of breast cancer, there are few models for ovarian cancer in the general population, and none for endometrial cancer.
Methods and Findings
Using data on white, non-Hispanic women aged 50+ y from two large population-based cohorts (the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial [PLCO] and the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study [NIH-AARP]), we estimated relative and attributable risks and combined them with age-specific US-population incidence and competing mortality rates. All models included parity. The breast cancer model additionally included estrogen and progestin menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) use, other MHT use, age at first live birth, menopausal status, age at menopause, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, benign breast disease/biopsies, alcohol consumption, and body mass index (BMI); the endometrial model included menopausal status, age at menopause, BMI, smoking, oral contraceptive use, MHT use, and an interaction term between BMI and MHT use; the ovarian model included oral contraceptive use, MHT use, and family history or breast or ovarian cancer. In independent validation data (Nurses' Health Study cohort) the breast and ovarian cancer models were well calibrated; expected to observed cancer ratios were 1.00 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.96–1.04) for breast cancer and 1.08 (95% CI: 0.97–1.19) for ovarian cancer. The number of endometrial cancers was significantly overestimated, expected/observed = 1.20 (95% CI: 1.11–1.29). The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs; discriminatory power) were 0.58 (95% CI: 0.57–0.59), 0.59 (95% CI: 0.56–0.63), and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.66–0.70) for the breast, ovarian, and endometrial models, respectively.
Conclusions
These models predict absolute risks for breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers from easily obtainable risk factors and may assist in clinical decision-making. Limitations are the modest discriminatory ability of the breast and ovarian models and that these models may not generalize to women of other races.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2008, just three types of cancer accounted for 10% of global cancer-related deaths. That year, about 460,000 women died from breast cancer (the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women and the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death). Another 140,000 women died from ovarian cancer, and 74,000 died from endometrial (womb) cancer (the 14th and 20th most common causes of cancer-related death, respectively). Although these three cancers originate in different tissues, they nevertheless share many risk factors. For example, current age, age at menarche (first period), and parity (the number of children a woman has had) are all strongly associated with breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer risk. Because these cancers share many hormonal and epidemiological risk factors, a woman with a high breast cancer risk is also likely to have an above-average risk of developing ovarian or endometrial cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several statistical models (for example, the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool) have been developed that estimate a woman's absolute risk (probability) of developing breast cancer over the next few years or over her lifetime. Absolute risk prediction models are useful in the design of cancer prevention trials and can also help women make informed decisions about cancer prevention and treatment options. For example, a woman at high risk of breast cancer might decide to take tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention, but ideally she needs to know her absolute endometrial cancer risk before doing so because tamoxifen increases the risk of this cancer. Similarly, knowledge of her ovarian cancer risk might influence a woman's decision regarding prophylactic removal of her ovaries to reduce her breast cancer risk. There are few absolute risk prediction models for ovarian cancer, and none for endometrial cancer, so here the researchers develop models to predict the risk of these cancers and of breast cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Absolute risk prediction models are constructed by combining estimates for risk factors from cohorts with population-based incidence rates from cancer registries. Models are validated in an independent cohort by testing their ability to identify people with the disease in an independent cohort and their ability to predict the observed numbers of incident cases. The researchers used data on white, non-Hispanic women aged 50 years or older that were collected during two large prospective US cohort studies of cancer screening and of diet and health, and US cancer incidence and mortality rates provided by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program to build their models. The models all included parity as a risk factor, as well as other factors. The model for endometrial cancer, for example, also included menopausal status, age at menopause, body mass index (an indicator of the amount of body fat), oral contraceptive use, menopausal hormone therapy use, and an interaction term between menopausal hormone therapy use and body mass index. Individual women's risk for endometrial cancer calculated using this model ranged from 1.22% to 17.8% over the next 20 years depending on their exposure to various risk factors. Validation of the models using data from the US Nurses' Health Study indicated that the endometrial cancer model overestimated the risk of endometrial cancer but that the breast and ovarian cancer models were well calibrated—the predicted and observed risks for these cancers in the validation cohort agreed closely. Finally, the discriminatory power of the models (a measure of how well a model separates people who have a disease from people who do not have the disease) was modest for the breast and ovarian cancer models but somewhat better for the endometrial cancer model.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer can all be predicted using information on known risk factors for these cancers that is easily obtainable. Because these models were constructed and validated using data from white, non-Hispanic women aged 50 years or older, they may not accurately predict absolute risk for these cancers for women of other races or ethnicities. Moreover, the modest discriminatory power of the breast and ovarian cancer models means they cannot be used to decide which women should be routinely screened for these cancers. Importantly, however, these well-calibrated models should provide realistic information about an individual's risk of developing breast, ovarian, or endometrial cancer that can be used in clinical decision-making and that may assist in the identification of potential participants for research studies.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001492.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Lars Holmberg and Andrew Vickers
The US National Cancer Institute provides comprehensive information about cancer (in English and Spanish), including detailed information about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer;
Information on the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, and on the prospective cohort study of screening and the diet and health study that provided the data used to build the models is also available on the NCI site
Cancer Research UK, a not-for-profit organization, provides information about cancer, including detailed information on breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information and personal stories about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer; the not-for-profit organization Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about dealing with breast cancer and ovarian cancer
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001492
PMCID: PMC3728034  PMID: 23935463
22.  Estimation of the cost of treatment by chemotherapy for early breast cancer in Morocco 
Background
Breast cancer is the first cancer in women both in incidence and mortality. The treatment of breast cancer benefited from the progress of chemotherapy and targeted therapies, but there was a parallel increase in treatment costs. Despite a relatively high incidence of many sites of cancer, so far, there is no national register for this disease in Morocco.
The main goal of this paper is to estimate the total cost of chemotherapy in the early stages of breast cancer due to its frequency and the chances of patients being cured. This study provides health decision-makers with a first estimate of costs and the opportunity to achieve the optimal use of available data to estimate the needs of antimitotics and trastuzumab in Morocco.
Method
We start by evaluating the individual cost according to the therapeutic sub-groups, namely:
1. Patients needing chemotherapy with only anthracycline-based therapy.
2. Patients needing chemotherapy with both anthracycline and taxane but without trastuzumab.
3. Patients needing trastuzumab in addition to chemotherapy.
For each sub-group, the protocol of treatment is described, and the individual costs per unit, and for the whole cycle, are evaluated.
Then we estimate the number of women suffering from breast cancer on the basis of two data bases available in Morocco.
Finally, we calculate the total annual cost of treatment of breast cancer in Morocco.
Results
The total cost of breast cancer in Morocco is given in Moroccan dirhams (MAD), the US dollar at the current exchange rate (MAD 10 = USD 1.30) and in international dollars or purchasing power parity (MAD 10 = PPP 1.95).
The cost of a therapy with trastuzumab is 8.4 times the cost of a sequential chemotherapy combining anthracycline and taxane, and nearly 60 times the cost of chemotherapy based on anthracycline alone.
Globally, between USD 13.3 million and USD 28.6 million need to be devoted every year by the Moroccan health authorities to treat women with localized breast cancer in keeping with international recommendations.
Discussion
According to our estimation methods, the complete cost of adjuvant chemotherapy including trastuzumab will range from 1.3 to 2.4% of the global budget of the Moroccan Health Department (MAD 9.8 billion or USD 1.274 billion). Unfortunately, only one-third of the Moroccan population has healthcare insurance whereas for each patient the treatment with chemotherapy alone costs 1.15 times the annual minimum income (MAD 23,710 or USD 3,082), and treatment requiring both chemotherapy and trastuzumab costs 9.76 times the annual minimum income. For the tumour over expressing HER2Neu, we need to treat 25 women in order to save (cure) one woman: the calculated cost for one life saved is USD 663,000. The question is, is it cost-effective for an emerging country?
Conclusion
In this paper we aimed at evaluating the total cost of chemotherapy in the early stages of breast cancer in order to provide health decision-makers with a first estimation and a good opportunity for the optimal use of available data for the needs of antimitotics and trastuzumab in Morocco. Different protocols were considered and the individual cost of the whole treatment was given according to therapies using anthracycline alone, sequential chemotherapy combining anthracycline and taxane, and sequential chemotherapy with trastuzumab. According to our estimations, Moroccan health authorities need to devote between USD 13.3 million and USD 28.6 million every year in order to treat women suffering from localized breast cancer in ways consistent with international recommended standards.
doi:10.1186/1478-7547-8-16
PMCID: PMC2942794  PMID: 20828417
23.  The place of chemotherapy in the treatment of early breast cancer. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;78 (Suppl 4):16-20.
The choice of systemic treatment for breast cancer depends on the tumour characteristics and stage of disease, and the patient's age, general state of health, menopausal status and oestrogen receptor (ER) status. Traditionally, endocrine therapy has been reserved for post-menopausal women, combination chemotherapy being more commonly used in premenopausal women. Chemotherapy remains the only option for patients with ER-negative breast cancer. The 1992 EBCTCG overview showed that, overall, polychemotherapy as adjuvant treatment for early breast cancer produced significant reductions in annual odds of recurrence and mortality, with a statistically significant trend towards greater benefits in patients aged under 50 years. Several trials have shown combination chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil (CMF) to be more effective than single-agent chemotherapy in premenopausal women with node-positive tumours. However, although CMF chemotherapy seems to be effective irrespective of menopausal status, this benefit appears greatest in premenopausal women. The addition of anthracyclines to combination chemotherapy regimens has extended disease-free and overall survival rates in both premenopausal and post-menopausal women, including those with ER-positive tumours. The use of high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support in early breast cancer is unjustified outside the clinical trial setting--current data indicate that such treatment may result in increased morbidity without a reduction in disease recurrence. Tamoxifen is effective in ER-positive disease; however, as yet few large comparative trials have compared endocrine treatment with chemotherapy in early breast cancer. Combination chemoendocrine therapy may provide a greater benefit than tamoxifen alone in early breast cancer, but this requires further study.
PMCID: PMC2062752  PMID: 9741784
24.  Prevention and management of osteoporosis: consensus statements from the Scientific Advisory Board of the Osteoporosis Society of Canada. 3. Effects of ovarian hormone therapy on skeletal and extraskeletal tissues in women. 
OBJECTIVE: To present recent evidence on the use of ovarian hormone therapy (OHT) for osteoporosis and outline safe and effective regimens. OPTIONS: Estrogen alone, estrogen and progestins, progestins alone; various treatment regimens. OUTCOMES: Fracture and loss of bone mineral density in osteoporosis; increased bone mass, prevention of fractures and improved quality of life associated with OHT. EVIDENCE: Relevant clinical studies and reports, including the Nurses' Health Study and the Post-menopausal Estrogen/Progestin Interventions (PEPI) Trial, were studied with emphasis on recent prospective, randomized, controlled trials. Current clinical practice was determined by survey. VALUES: Reducing fractures, increasing bone mineral density and minimizing side effects of treatment were given a high value. BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS: Proper management of osteoporosis minimizes injury and disability, improves quality of life and reduces the personal and social costs associated with the condition. OHT is the front-line pharmaceutical therapy for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. In those who are able and willing to comply with therapy, OHT prevents bone loss and fractures. Hormone therapy may also decrease risk of coronary artery disease. Cyclic progestin protects against endometrial cancer in patients receiving estrogen. Potential harms include breast cancer and endometrial cancer related to dosage and duration of therapy. Mastalgia and especially resumption of menstrual bleeding affect compliance. RECOMMENDATIONS: Use of OHT should be considered as early as possible in the perimenopausal period for women at increased risk of osteoporosis. Guidelines are provided for assessment of osteoporosis risk. Physicians and their patients should take into account the absolute and relative contraindications to OHT. Women with a uterus should be given estrogen in combination with a progestin. Ideally, therapy would be continued for a minimum of 10 years beyond menopause for maximum bone protection. Women using OHT should be carefully monitored and evaluated for possible adverse events. This should include regular screening mammography, breast examination and, for some, endometrial surveillance. Specific dosages and treatment regimens are outlined.
PMCID: PMC1335456  PMID: 8837542
25.  KRAS Testing for Anti-EGFR Therapy in Advanced Colorectal Cancer 
Executive Summary
In February 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on evidence-based reviews of the 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 Economic Analysis
K-RAS testing in Treatment Decisions for Advanced Colorectal Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis.
Objective
The objective of this systematic review is to determine the predictive value of KRAS testing in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) with two anti-EGFR agents, cetuximab and panitumumab. Economic analyses are also being conducted to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of KRAS testing.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is usually defined as stage IV disease according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer tumour node metastasis (TNM) system or stage D in the Duke’s classification system. Patients with advanced colorectal cancer (mCRC) either present with metastatic disease or develop it through disease progression.
KRAS (Kristen-RAS, a member of the rat sarcoma virus (ras) gene family of oncogenes) is frequently mutated in epithelial cancers such as colorectal cancer, with mutations occurring in mutational hotspots (codons 12 and 13) of the KRAS protein. Involved in EGFR-mediated signalling of cellular processes such as cell proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, enhanced cell motility and neoangiogenesis, a mutation in the KRAS gene is believed to be involved in cancer pathogenesis. Such a mutation is also hypothesized to be involved in resistance to targeted anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor with tyrosine kinase activity) treatments such as cetuximab and panitumumab, hence, the important in evaluating the evidence on the predictive value of KRAS testing in this context.
KRAS Mutation Testing in Advanced Colorectal Cancer
Both cetuximab and panitumumab are indicated by Health Canada in the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer whose tumours are WT for the KRAS gene. Cetuximab may be offered as monotherapy in patients intolerant to irinotecan-based chemotherapy or in patients who have failed both irinotecan and oxaliplatin-based regimens and who received a fluoropyrimidine. It can also be administered in combination with irinotecan in patients refractory to other irinotecan-based chemotherapy regimens. Panitumumab is only indicated as a single agent after failure of fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-containing chemotherapy regimens.
In Ontario, patients with advanced colorectal cancer who are refractory to chemotherapy may be offered the targeted anti-EGFR treatments cetuximab or panitumumab. Eligibility for these treatments is based on the KRAS status of their tumour, derived from tissue collected from surgical or biopsy specimens. It is believed that KRAS status is not affected by treatments, therefore, for patients for whom surgical tissue is available for KRAS testing, additional biopsies prior to treatment with these targeted agents is not necessary. For patients that have not undergone surgery or for whom surgical tissue is not available, a biopsy of either the primary or metastatic site is required to determine their KRAS status. This is possible as status at the metastatic and primary tumour sites is considered to be similar.
Research Question
To determine if there is predictive value of KRAS testing in guiding treatment decisions with anti-EGFR targeted therapies in advanced colorectal cancer patients refractory to chemotherapy.
Research Methods
Literature Search
The Medical Advisory Secretariat followed its standard procedures and on May 18, 2010, 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 colorectal cancer, cetuximab, panitumumab, and KRAS testing. The search was further restricted to English-language articles published between January 1, 2009 and May 18, 2010 resulting in 1335 articles for review. Excluded were case reports, comments, editorials, nonsystematic reviews, and letters. Studies published from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2008 were identified in a health technology assessment conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), published in 2010. In total, 14 observational studies were identified for inclusion in this EBA: 4 for cetuximab monotherapy, 7 for the cetuximab-irinotecan combination therapy, and 3 to be included in the review for panitumumab monotherapy
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles, and English or French-language HTAs published from January 2005 to May 2010, inclusive.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or observational studies, including single arm treatment studies that include KRAS testing.
Studies with data on main outcomes of interest, overall and progression-free survival.
Studies of third line treatment with cetuximab or panitumumab in patients with advanced colorectal cancer refractory to chemotherapy.
For the cetuximab-irinotecan evaluation, studies in which at least 70% of patients in the study received this combination therapy.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies whose entire sample was included in subsequent publications which have been included in this EBA.
Studies in pediatric populations.
Case reports, comments, editorials, or letters.
Outcomes of Interest
Overall survival (OS), median
Progression-free-survival (PFS), median.
Response rates.
Adverse event rates.
Quality of life (QOL).
Summary of Findings of Systematic Review
Cetuximab or Panitumumab Monotherapy
Based on moderate GRADE observational evidence, there is improvement in PFS and OS favouring patients without the KRAS mutation (KRAS wildtype, or KRAS WT) compared to those with the mutation.
Cetuximab-Irinotecan Combination Therapy
There is low GRADE evidence that testing for KRAS may optimize survival benefits in patients without the KRAS mutation (KRAS wildtype, or KRAS WT) compared to those with the mutation.
However, cetuximab-irinotecan combination treatments based on KRAS status discount any effect of cetuximab in possibly reversing resistance to irinotecan in patients with the mutation, as observed effects were lower than for patients without the mutation. Clinical experts have raised concerns about the biological plausibility of this observation and this conclusion would, therefore, be regarded as hypothesis generating.
Economic Analysis
Cost-effectiveness and budget impact analyses were conducted incorporating estimates of effectiveness from this systematic review. Evaluation of relative cost-effectiveness, based on a decision-analytic cost-utility analysis, assessed testing for KRAS genetic mutations versus no testing in the context of treatment with cetuximab monotherapy, panitumumab monotherapy, cetuximab in combination with irinotecan, and best supportive care.
Of importance to note is that the cost-effectiveness analysis focused on the impact of testing for KRAS mutations compared to no testing in the context of different treatment options, and does not assess the cost-effectiveness of the drug treatments alone.
Conclusions
KRAS status is predictive of outcomes in cetuximab and panitumumab monotherapy, and in cetuximab-irinotecan combination therapy.
While KRAS testing is cost-effective for all strategies considered, it is not equally cost-effective for all treatment options.
PMCID: PMC3377508  PMID: 23074403

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