Homeobox B13 in breast cancer Prediction of tamoxifen benefit
Sammanfattning: A major issue in the management of breast cancer is to identify patients who are less likely to be cured after primary treatment and would benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. Of great importance is also identification of patients with only local disease who traditionally would be given chemotherapy but would survive without. In this thesis we have validated the utility of the two-gene ratio HOXB13:IL17BR, which previously has been demonstrated to predict disease-free survival in tamoxifen-treated breast cancer patients. We have also studied the prognostic and predictive utility of a single gene as a biomarker in breast cancer medicine.We could confirm that HOXB13:IL17BR may classify patients with different treatment benefit; only patients with a low value showed benefit from prolonged duration of tamoxifen therapy, whereas for the group with high ratios, the long-term recurrence rate did not improve with longer treatment duration.The combination of HOXB13:IL17BR and the molecular grade index (MGI), another prognostic marker, has been shown to outperform either alone in predicting risk of breast cancer recurrence. We validated the prognostic utility of HOXB13:IL17BR+MGI in a large randomized patient cohort and found that this risk classification identified more than 50% of the tamoxifen-treated lymph node-negative patients as having a less than 3% risk of distant recurrence and breast cancer death. Furthermore, we developed and tested a continuous risk model of HOXB13:IL17BR+MGI called Breast Cancer Index (BCI), for estimation of recurrence risk at the individual level. Our study shows that BCI has the ability to identify more than 50% of patients with a low risk of recurrence more accurately than using traditional risk assessment. These results suggest that BCI may help clinicians to make better informed treatment decisions and spare toxic chemotherapy for a large group of breast cancer patients.The protein expression of HOXB13 was also shown to be a valuable predictor in postmenopausal patients. High expression was associated with worse outcome after tamoxifen therapy. In a premenopausal cohort, patients with hormone receptor-positive tumors showed benefit from tamoxifen regardless of HOXB13 expression. Further analysis indicated that estrogen receptor ? (ER?) modified the performance of HOXB13 as a predictor of treatment effect and should be taken into account when identifying patients less likely to respond to the therapy given.In conclusion, BCI identifies patients with a very low risk of distant recurrence. It may be utilized in the management of breast cancer patients to optimize the use of chemotherapy. HOXB13 protein expression may be used as a marker for tamoxifen benefit, but its performance in premenopausal patients might be modified by ER?.
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