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1.  Breast density as indicator for the use of mammography or MRI to screen women with familial risk for breast cancer (FaMRIsc): a multicentre randomized controlled trial 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:440.
To reduce mortality, women with a family history of breast cancer often start mammography screening at a younger age than the general population. Breast density is high in over 50% of women younger than 50 years. With high breast density, breast cancer incidence increases, but sensitivity of mammography decreases. Therefore, mammography might not be the optimal method for breast cancer screening in young women. Adding MRI increases sensitivity, but also the risk of false-positive results. The limitation of all previous MRI screening studies is that they do not contain a comparison group; all participants received both MRI and mammography. Therefore, we cannot empirically assess in which stage tumours would have been detected by either test.
The aim of the Familial MRI Screening Study (FaMRIsc) is to compare the efficacy of MRI screening to mammography for women with a familial risk. Furthermore, we will assess the influence of breast density.
This Dutch multicentre, randomized controlled trial, with balanced randomisation (1:1) has a parallel grouped design. Women with a cumulative lifetime risk for breast cancer due to their family history of ≥20%, aged 30–55 years are eligible. Identified BRCA1/2 mutation carriers or women with 50% risk of carrying a mutation are excluded. Group 1 receives yearly mammography and clinical breast examination (n = 1000), and group 2 yearly MRI and clinical breast examination, and mammography biennially (n = 1000).
Primary endpoints are the number and stage of the detected breast cancers in each arm. Secondary endpoints are the number of false-positive results in both screening arms. Furthermore, sensitivity and positive predictive value of both screening strategies will be assessed. Cost-effectiveness of both strategies will be assessed. Analyses will also be performed with mammographic density as stratification factor.
Personalized breast cancer screening might optimize mortality reduction with less over diagnosis. Breast density may be a key discriminator for selecting the optimal screening strategy for women < 55 years with familial breast cancer risk; mammography or MRI. These issues are addressed in the FaMRIsc study including high risk women due to a familial predisposition.
Trial registration
Netherland Trial Register NTR2789
PMCID: PMC3488502  PMID: 23031619
Breast cancer; Familial risk; Screening; MRI; Breast density; Cost-effectiveness
2.  Role of Axillary Clearance After a Tumor-Positive Sentinel Node in the Administration of Adjuvant Therapy in Early Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;28(5):731-737.
The After Mapping of the Axilla: Radiotherapy or Surgery? (AMAROS) phase III study compares axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) and axillary radiation therapy (ART) in early breast cancer patients with tumor-positive sentinel nodes. In the ART arm, the extent of nodal involvement remains unknown, which could have implications on the administration of adjuvant therapy. In this preliminary analysis, we studied the influence of random assignment to ALND or ART on the choice for adjuvant treatment.
Patients and Methods
In the first 2,000 patients enrolled in the AMAROS trial, we analyzed the administration of adjuvant systemic therapy. Multivariate analysis was used to assess variables affecting the administration of adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant therapy was applied according to institutional guidelines.
Of 2,000 patients, 566 patients had a positive sentinel node and were treated per random assignment. There was no significant difference in the administration of adjuvant systemic therapy. In the ALND and ART arms, 58% (175 of 300) and 61% (162 of 266) of the patients, respectively, received chemotherapy. Endocrine therapy was administered in 78% (235 of 300) of the patients in the ALND arm and in 76% (203 of 266) of the patients in the ART arm. Treatment arm was not a significant factor in the decision, and no interactions between treatment arm and other factors were observed. Multivariate analysis showed that age, tumor grade, multifocality, and size of the sentinel node metastasis significantly affected the administration of chemotherapy. Within the ALND arm, the extent of nodal involvement remained not significant in a sensitivity multivariate analysis.
Absence of knowledge regarding the extent of nodal involvement in the ART arm appears to have no major impact on the administration of adjuvant therapy.
PMCID: PMC2834391  PMID: 20038733
3.  Feasibility of FDG PET/CT to monitor the response of axillary lymph node metastases to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients 
The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT to visualize lymph node metastases before the start of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and to determine how often the visualization is sufficiently prominent to allow monitoring of the axillary response.
Thirty-eight patients with invasive breast cancer of >3 cm and/or lymph node metastasis underwent FDG PET/CT before neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The results of the FDG PET/CT were compared with those from ultrasonography with fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology or sentinel node biopsy. Patients suitable for response monitoring of the axilla were defined as having either a maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) ≥ 2.5 or a tumour to background ratio ≥5 in the most intense lymph node.
The sensitivity and specificity of FDG PET/CT in detecting axillary involvement were 97 and 100%, respectively. No difference existed between the SUVmax of the primary tumour and that from the related most intense lymph node metastasis. Moreover, the mean tumour to background ratio was 90% higher in the lymph nodes compared to the primary tumour (p = 0.006). Ninety-three per cent of the patients had sufficient uptake in the lymph nodes to qualify for subsequent response monitoring of the axilla. A considerable distinction in metabolic activity was observed between the different subtypes of breast cancer. The mean SUVmax in lymph node metastases of oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive, triple-negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive tumours was 6.6, 11.6 and 6.6, respectively.
The high accuracy in visualizing lymph node metastases and the sufficiently high SUVmax and tumour to background ratio at baseline suggest that it is feasible to monitor the axillary response with FDG PET/CT, especially in triple-negative tumours.
PMCID: PMC2869017  PMID: 20130860
Breast cancer; Axillary lymph node metastasis; FDG-PET/CT; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
4.  History of sentinel node and validation of the technique 
Breast Cancer Research  2001;3(2):109-112.
Sentinel node biopsy is a minimally invasive technique to select patients with occult lymph node metastases who may benefit from further regional or systemic therapy. The sentinel node is the first lymph node reached by metastasising cells from a primary tumour. Attempts to remove this node with a procedure based on standard anatomical patterns did not become popular. The development of the dynamic technique of intraoperative lymphatic mapping in the 1990s resulted in general acceptance of the sentinel node concept. This hypothesis of sequential tumour dissemination seems to be valid according to numerous studies of sentinel node biopsy with confirmatory regional lymph node dissection. This report describes the history and the validation of the technique, with particular reference to breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC139441  PMID: 11250756
history; lymphatic dissemination; review; sentinel node
5.  Gene Expression Profiles from Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded Breast Cancer Tissue Are Largely Comparable to Fresh Frozen Matched Tissue 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e17163.
Background and Methods
Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) samples represent a valuable resource for cancer research. However, the discovery and development of new cancer biomarkers often requires fresh frozen (FF) samples. Recently, the Whole Genome (WG) DASL (cDNA-mediated Annealing, Selection, extension and Ligation) assay was specifically developed to profile FFPE tissue. However, a thorough comparison of data generated from FFPE RNA and Fresh Frozen (FF) RNA using this platform is lacking. To this end we profiled, in duplicate, 20 FFPE tissues and 20 matched FF tissues and evaluated the concordance of the DASL results from FFPE and matched FF material.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We show that after proper normalization, all FFPE and FF pairs exhibit a high level of similarity (Pearson correlation >0.7), significantly larger than the similarity between non-paired samples. Interestingly, the probes showing the highest correlation had a higher percentage G/C content and were enriched for cell cycle genes. Predictions of gene expression signatures developed on frozen material (Intrinsic subtype, Genomic Grade Index, 70 gene signature) showed a high level of concordance between FFPE and FF matched pairs. Interestingly, predictions based on a 60 gene DASL list (best match with the 70 gene signature) showed very high concordance with the MammaPrint® results.
Conclusions and Significance
We demonstrate that data generated from FFPE material with the DASL assay, if properly processed, are comparable to data extracted from the FF counterpart. Specifically, gene expression profiles for a known set of prognostic genes for a specific disease are highly comparable between two conditions. This opens up the possibility of using both FFPE and FF material in gene expressions analyses, leading to a vast increase in the potential resources available for cancer research.
PMCID: PMC3037966  PMID: 21347257
6.  Sentinel Node Identification Rate and Nodal Involvement in the EORTC 10981-22023 AMAROS Trial 
Annals of Surgical Oncology  2010;17(7):1854-1861.
The randomized EORTC 10981-22023 AMAROS trial investigates whether breast cancer patients with a tumor-positive sentinel node biopsy (SNB) are best treated with an axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) or axillary radiotherapy (ART). The aim of the current substudy was to evaluate the identification rate and the nodal involvement.
The first 2,000 patients participating in the AMAROS trial were evaluated. Associations between the identification rate and technical, patient-, and tumor-related factors were evaluated. The outcome of the SNB procedure and potential further nodal involvement was assessed.
In 65 patients, the sentinel node could not be identified. As a result, the sentinel node identification rate was 97% (1,888 of 1,953). Variables affecting the success rate were age, pathological tumor size, histology, year of accrual, and method of detection. The SNB results of 65% of the patients (n = 1,220) were negative and the patients underwent no further axillary treatment. The SNB results were positive in 34% of the patients (n = 647), including macrometastases (n = 409, 63%), micrometastases (n = 161, 25%), and isolated tumor cells (n = 77, 12%). Further nodal involvement in patients with macrometastases, micrometastases, and isolated tumor cells undergoing an ALND was 41, 18, and 18%, respectively.
With a 97% detection rate in this prospective international multicenter study, the SNB procedure is highly effective, especially when the combined method is used. Further nodal involvement in patients with micrometastases and isolated tumor cells in the sentinel node was similar—both were 18%.
PMCID: PMC2889289  PMID: 20300966

Results 1-6 (6)