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author:("brace, Jan C")
1.  Clinical validation of the EndoPredict test in node-positive, chemotherapy-treated ER+/HER2− breast cancer patients: results from the GEICAM 9906 trial 
Introduction
EndoPredict (EP) is an RNA-based multigene test that predicts the likelihood of distant recurrence in patients with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–negative (HER2−) breast cancer (BC) who are being treated with adjuvant endocrine therapy. Herein we report the prospective-retrospective clinical validation of EP in the node-positive, chemotherapy-treated, ER+/HER2− BC patients in the GEICAM 9906 trial.
Methods
The patients (N = 1,246) were treated either with six cycles of fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide (FEC) or with four cycles of FEC followed by eight weekly courses of paclitaxel (FEC-P), as well as with endocrine therapy if they had hormone receptor–positive disease. The patients were assigned to EP risk categories (low or high) according to prespecified cutoff levels. The primary endpoint in the clinical validation of EP was distant metastasis-free survival (MFS). Metastasis rates were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and multivariate analysis was performed using Cox regression.
Results
The molecular EP score and the combined molecular and clinical EPclin score were successfully determined in 555 ER+/HER2− tumors from the 800 available samples in the GEICAM 9906 trial. On the basis of the EP, 25% of patients (n = 141) were classified as low risk. MFS was 93% in the low-risk group and 70% in the high-risk group (absolute risk reduction = 23%, hazard ratio (HR) = 4.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.5 to 9.5; P < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed that, in this ER+/HER2− cohort, EP results are an independent prognostic parameter after adjustment for age, grade, lymph node status, tumor size, treatment arm, ER and progesterone receptor (PR) status and proliferation index (Ki67). Using the predefined EPclin score, 13% of patients (n = 74) were assigned to the low-risk group, who had excellent outcomes and no distant recurrence events (absolute risk reduction vs high-risk group = 28%; P < 0.0001). Furthermore, EP was prognostic in premenopausal patients (HR = 6.7, 95% CI = 2.4 to 18.3; P = 0.0002) and postmenopausal patients (HR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.3 to 8.5; P = 0.0109). There were no statistically significant differences in MFS between treatment arms (FEC vs FEC-P) in either the high- or low-risk groups. The interaction test results between the chemotherapy arm and the EP score were not significant.
Conclusions
EP is an independent prognostic parameter in node-positive, ER+/HER2− BC patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy followed by hormone therapy. EP did not predict a greater efficacy of FEC-P compared to FEC alone.
doi:10.1186/bcr3642
PMCID: PMC4076639  PMID: 24725534
2.  ERG Induces Epigenetic Activation of Tudor Domain-Containing Protein 1 (TDRD1) in ERG Rearrangement-Positive Prostate Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59976.
Background
Overexpression of ERG transcription factor due to genomic ERG-rearrangements defines a separate molecular subtype of prostate tumors. One of the consequences of ERG accumulation is modulation of the cell’s gene expression profile. Tudor domain-containing protein 1 gene (TDRD1) was reported to be differentially expressed between TMPRSS2:ERG-negative and TMPRSS2:ERG-positive prostate cancer. The aim of our study was to provide a mechanistic explanation for the transcriptional activation of TDRD1 in ERG rearrangement-positive prostate tumors.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Gene expression measurements by real-time quantitative PCR revealed a remarkable co-expression of TDRD1 and ERG (r2 = 0.77) but not ETV1 (r2<0.01) in human prostate cancer in vivo. DNA methylation analysis by MeDIP-Seq and bisulfite sequencing showed that TDRD1 expression is inversely correlated with DNA methylation at the TDRD1 promoter in vitro and in vivo (ρ = −0.57). Accordingly, demethylation of the TDRD1 promoter in TMPRSS2:ERG-negative prostate cancer cells by DNA methyltransferase inhibitors resulted in TDRD1 induction. By manipulation of ERG dosage through gene silencing and forced expression we show that ERG governs loss of DNA methylation at the TDRD1 promoter-associated CpG island, leading to TDRD1 overexpression.
Conclusions/Significance
We demonstrate that ERG is capable of disrupting a tissue-specific DNA methylation pattern at the TDRD1 promoter. As a result, TDRD1 becomes transcriptionally activated in TMPRSS2:ERG-positive prostate cancer. Given the prevalence of ERG fusions, TDRD1 overexpression is a common alteration in human prostate cancer which may be exploited for diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059976
PMCID: PMC3612037  PMID: 23555854
3.  A Cancer-Indicative microRNA Pattern in Normal Prostate Tissue 
We analyzed the levels of selected micro-RNAs in normal prostate tissue to assess their potential to indicate tumor foci elsewhere in the prostate. Histologically normal prostate tissue samples from 31 prostate cancer patients and two cancer negative control groups with either unsuspicious or elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels (14 and 17 individuals, respectively) were analyzed. Based on the expression analysis of 157 microRNAs in a pool of prostate tissue samples and information from data bases/literature, we selected eight microRNAs for quantification by real-time polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCRs). Selected miRNAs were analyzed in histologically tumor-free biopsy samples from patients and healthy controls. We identified seven microRNAs (miR-124a, miR-146a & b, miR-185, miR-16 and let-7a & b), which displayed significant differential expression in normal prostate tissue from men with prostate cancer compared to both cancer negative control groups. Four microRNAs (miR-185, miR-16 and let-7a and let-7b) remained to significantly discriminate normal tissues from prostate cancer patients from those of the cancer negative control group with elevated PSA levels. The transcript levels of these microRNAs were highly indicative for the presence of cancer in the prostates, independently of the PSA level. Our results suggest a microRNA-pattern in histologically normal prostate tissue, indicating prostate cancer elsewhere in the organ.
doi:10.3390/ijms14035239
PMCID: PMC3634476  PMID: 23459235
prostate carcinoma; tumor neighboring normal tissue; microRNA; molecular marker; early neoplastic transformation; field cancerization
4.  HER2 and ESR1 mRNA expression levels and response to neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy in patients with primary breast cancer 
Introduction
Recent data suggest that benefit from trastuzumab and chemotherapy might be related to expression of HER2 and estrogen receptor (ESR1). Therefore, we investigated HER2 and ESR1 mRNA levels in core biopsies of HER2-positive breast carcinomas from patients treated within the neoadjuvant GeparQuattro trial.
Methods
HER2 levels were centrally analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC), silver in situ hybridization (SISH) and qRT-PCR in 217 pretherapeutic formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) core biopsies. All tumors had been HER2-positive by local pathology and had been treated with neoadjuvant trastuzumab/ chemotherapy in GeparQuattro.
Results
Only 73% of the tumors (158 of 217) were centrally HER2-positive (cHER2-positive) by IHC/SISH, with cHER2-positive tumors showing a significantly higher pCR rate (46.8% vs. 20.3%, P <0.0005). HER2 status by qRT-PCR showed a concordance of 88.5% with the central IHC/SISH status, with a low pCR rate in those tumors that were HER2-negative by mRNA analysis (21.1% vs. 49.6%, P <0.0005). The level of HER2 mRNA expression was linked to response rate in ESR1-positive tumors, but not in ESR1-negative tumors. HER2 mRNA expression was significantly associated with pCR in the HER2-positive/ESR1-positive tumors (P = 0.004), but not in HER2-positive/ESR1-negative tumors.
Conclusions
Only patients with cHER2-positive tumors - irrespective of the method used - have an increased pCR rate with trastuzumab plus chemotherapy. In patients with cHER2-negative tumors the pCR rate is comparable to the pCR rate in the non-trastuzumab treated HER-negative population. Response to trastuzumab is correlated to HER2 mRNA levels only in ESR1-positive tumors. This study adds further evidence to the different biology of both subsets within the HER2-positive group.
Introduction The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is the prototype of a predictive biomarker for targeted treatment [1-8]. International initiatives have established the combination of immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization as the current gold standard [9,10]. As an additional approach determination of HER2 mRNA expression is technically feasible in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue [11-13]. Crosstalk between the estrogen receptor (ER) and the HER2 pathway has been suggested based on cell culture and animal models [14]. Consequently, the 2011 St Gallen panel has pointed out that HER2-positive tumors should be divided into two groups based on expression of the ER [15].
A retrospective analysis of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) B31 study has suggested that mRNA levels of HER2 and ESR1 might be relevant for the degree of benefit from adjuvant trastuzumab. By subpopulation treatment effect pattern plot (STEPP) analysis in ER-positive tumors, benefit from trastuzumab was shown to be restricted to those with higher levels of HER2 mRNA (S Paik, personal communication, results summarized in [15]).
In our study we evaluated this hypothesis in the neoadjuvant setting in a cohort of 217 patients from the neoadjuvant GeparQuattro trial [5]. All patients had been HER2- positive by local pathology assessment and had received 24 to 36 weeks of neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus an anthracycline/taxane-based chemotherapy. For central evaluation we used three different methods, HER2 IHC, and HER2 silver in situ hybridization (SISH), as well as measurement of HER2 mRNA by quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR [11].
The primary objective of this analysis was to investigate if pathological complete response (pCR) rate in HER2-positive breast cancer would depend on the level of HER2 mRNA expression, with a separate analysis for HR-positive and -negative tumors. Central evaluation of the HER2 status showed that 27% of the tumors with HER2 overexpression by local pathology were HER2-negative. This enabled us to compare response rates in patients with HER2-positive and -negative tumors as a secondary objective.
doi:10.1186/bcr3384
PMCID: PMC3672694  PMID: 23391338
5.  Decentral gene expression analysis: analytical validation of the Endopredict genomic multianalyte breast cancer prognosis test 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:456.
Background
EndoPredict (EP) is a clinically validated multianalyte gene expression test to predict distant metastasis in ER-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer treated with endocrine therapy alone. The test is based on the combined analysis of 12 genes in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue by reverse transcription-quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR). Recently, it was shown that EP is feasible for reliable decentralized assessment of gene expression. The aim of this study was the analytical validation of the performance characteristics of the assay and its verification in a molecular-pathological routine laboratory.
Methods
Gene expression values to calculate the EP score were assayed by one-step RT-qPCR using RNA from FFPE tumor tissue. Limit of blank, limit of detection, linear range, and PCR efficiency were assessed for each of the 12 PCR assays using serial samples dilutions. Different breast cancer samples were used to evaluate RNA input range, precision and inter-laboratory variability.
Results
PCR assays were linear up to Cq values between 35.1 and 37.2. Amplification efficiencies ranged from 75% to 101%. The RNA input range without considerable change of the EP score was between 0.16 and 18.5 ng/μl. Analysis of precision (variation of day, day time, instrument, operator, reagent lots) resulted in a total noise (standard deviation) of 0.16 EP score units on a scale from 0 to 15. The major part of the total noise (SD 0.14) was caused by the replicate-to-replicate noise of the PCR assays (repeatability) and was not associated with different operating conditions (reproducibility). Performance characteristics established in the manufacturer’s laboratory were verified in a routine molecular pathology laboratory. Comparison of 10 tumor samples analyzed in two different laboratories showed a Pearson coefficient of 0.995 and a mean deviation of 0.15 score units.
Conclusions
The EP test showed reproducible performance characteristics with good precision and negligible laboratory-to-laboratory variation. This study provides further evidence that the EP test is suitable for decentralized testing in specialized molecular pathological laboratories instead of a reference laboratory. This is a unique feature and a technical advance in comparison with existing RNA-based prognostic multigene expression tests.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-456
PMCID: PMC3534340  PMID: 23039280
Breast cancer; Prognostic multigene expression test; Analytical validation; PCR; Pathology
6.  Comparison of the RNA-based EndoPredict multigene test between core biopsies and corresponding surgical breast cancer sections 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2012;65(7):660-662.
Aim
This study compared the perfomance of the RNA-based EndoPredict multigene test on core biopsies and surgical breast cancer specimens and analysed the influence of biopsy-induced tissue injuries on the test result.
Methods
80 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples comprising paired biopsies and surgical specimens from 40 ER-positive, HER2-negative patients were evaluated. Total RNA was extracted and the EndoPredict score was determined.
Results
RNA yield was considerably lower in core biopsies, but sufficient to measure the assay in all samples. The EndoPredict score was highly correlated between paired samples (Pearson r=0.92), with an excellent concordance of classification into a low or high risk of metastasis (overall agreement 95%).
Conclusions
The measurements are comparable between core biopsies and surgical sections, which suggest that the EndoPredict assay can be performed on core biopsy tissue. Inflammatory changes induced by presurgical biopsies had no significant effect on the RNA-based risk assessment in surgical specimens.
doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2012-200716
PMCID: PMC3426896  PMID: 22447922
Breast; breast cancer; breast pathology; cancer; cancer genetics; cancer research; EGFR; endocrine pathology; gynaecological pathology; molecular oncology; molecular pathology; oncology; ovary; statistics; tumour markers
7.  Graph based fusion of miRNA and mRNA expression data improves clinical outcome prediction in prostate cancer 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:488.
Background
One of the main goals in cancer studies including high-throughput microRNA (miRNA) and mRNA data is to find and assess prognostic signatures capable of predicting clinical outcome. Both mRNA and miRNA expression changes in cancer diseases are described to reflect clinical characteristics like staging and prognosis. Furthermore, miRNA abundance can directly affect target transcripts and translation in tumor cells. Prediction models are trained to identify either mRNA or miRNA signatures for patient stratification. With the increasing number of microarray studies collecting mRNA and miRNA from the same patient cohort there is a need for statistical methods to integrate or fuse both kinds of data into one prediction model in order to find a combined signature that improves the prediction.
Results
Here, we propose a new method to fuse miRNA and mRNA data into one prediction model. Since miRNAs are known regulators of mRNAs we used the correlations between them as well as the target prediction information to build a bipartite graph representing the relations between miRNAs and mRNAs. This graph was used to guide the feature selection in order to improve the prediction. The method is illustrated on a prostate cancer data set comprising 98 patient samples with miRNA and mRNA expression data. The biochemical relapse was used as clinical endpoint. It could be shown that the bipartite graph in combination with both data sets could improve prediction performance as well as the stability of the feature selection.
Conclusions
Fusion of mRNA and miRNA expression data into one prediction model improves clinical outcome prediction in terms of prediction error and stable feature selection. The R source code of the proposed method is available in the supplement.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-488
PMCID: PMC3471479  PMID: 22188670
8.  TMPRSS2-ERG -specific transcriptional modulation is associated with prostate cancer biomarkers and TGF-β signaling 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:507.
Background
TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusions occur in about 50% of all prostate cancer cases and represent promising markers for molecular subtyping. Although TMPRSS2-ERG fusion seems to be a critical event in prostate cancer, the precise functional role in cancer development and progression is still unclear.
Methods
We studied large-scale gene expression profiles in 47 prostate tumor tissue samples and in 48 normal prostate tissue samples taken from the non-suspect area of clinical low-risk tumors using Affymetrix GeneChip Exon 1.0 ST microarrays.
Results
Comparison of gene expression levels among TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-positive and negative tumors as well as benign samples demonstrated a distinct transcriptional program induced by the gene fusion event. Well-known biomarkers for prostate cancer detection like CRISP3 were found to be associated with the gene fusion status. WNT and TGF-β/BMP signaling pathways were significantly associated with genes upregulated in TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-positive tumors.
Conclusions
The TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion results in the modulation of transcriptional patterns and cellular pathways with potential consequences for prostate cancer progression. Well-known biomarkers for prostate cancer detection were found to be associated with the gene fusion. Our results suggest that the fusion status should be considered in retrospective and future studies to assess biomarkers for prostate cancer detection, progression and targeted therapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-507
PMCID: PMC3259213  PMID: 22142399
Prostate cancer; TMPRSS2-ERG; Gene expression profiling
9.  Serum microRNAs as non-invasive biomarkers for cancer 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:306.
Human serum and other body fluids are rich resources for the identification of novel biomarkers, which can be measured in routine clinical diagnosis. microRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules, which have an important function in regulating RNA stability and gene expression. The deregulation of microRNAs has been linked to cancer development and tumor progression. Recently, it has been reported that serum and other body fluids contain sufficiently stable microRNA signatures. Thus, the profiles of circulating microRNAs have been explored in a variety of studies aiming at the identification of novel non-invasive biomarkers.
In this review, we discuss recent findings indicating that circulating microRNAs are useful as non-invasive biomarkers for different tumor types. Additionally, we summarize the knowledge about the mechanism of microRNA release and the putative functional roles of circulating microRNAs. Although several challenges remain to be addressed, circulating microRNAs have the potential to be useful for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer diseases.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-9-306
PMCID: PMC3002336  PMID: 21110877
10.  Increasing the sensitivity of reverse phase protein arrays by antibody-mediated signal amplification 
Proteome Science  2010;8:36.
Background
Reverse phase protein arrays (RPPA) emerged as a useful experimental platform to analyze biological samples in a high-throughput format. Different signal detection methods have been described to generate a quantitative readout on RPPA including the use of fluorescently labeled antibodies. Increasing the sensitivity of RPPA approaches is important since many signaling proteins or posttranslational modifications are present at a low level.
Results
A new antibody-mediated signal amplification (AMSA) strategy relying on sequential incubation steps with fluorescently-labeled secondary antibodies reactive against each other is introduced here. The signal quantification is performed in the near-infrared range. The RPPA-based analysis of 14 endogenous proteins in seven different cell lines demonstrated a strong correlation (r = 0.89) between AMSA and standard NIR detection. Probing serial dilutions of human cancer cell lines with different primary antibodies demonstrated that the new amplification approach improved the limit of detection especially for low abundant target proteins.
Conclusions
Antibody-mediated signal amplification is a convenient and cost-effective approach for the robust and specific quantification of low abundant proteins on RPPAs. Contrasting other amplification approaches it allows target protein detection over a large linear range.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-8-36
PMCID: PMC2908584  PMID: 20569466

Results 1-10 (10)