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Homeobox B13 in breast cancer: Prediction of tamoxifen benefit
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Oncology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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 β (ERβ) 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 ERβ.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2011. , 69 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1243
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-68137ISBN: 978-91-7393-184-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-68137DiVA: diva2:416543
Public defence
2011-06-01, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-05-12 Created: 2011-05-12 Last updated: 2011-05-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exploring the two-gene ratio in breast cancer – independent roles for HOXB13 and IL17BR in prediction of clinical outcome
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring the two-gene ratio in breast cancer – independent roles for HOXB13 and IL17BR in prediction of clinical outcome
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2008 (English)In: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, ISSN 0167-6806, E-ISSN 1573-7217, Vol. 107, no 2, 225-234 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The two-gene expression ratio HOXB13:IL17BR has been proposed to predict the outcome of tamoxifen-treated breast cancer patients. We intended to examine whether this ratio can predict the benefit of 5 years vs. 2 years of tamoxifen treatment of postmenopausal patients. A further objective was to investigate any prognostic effects of the ratio in systemically untreated premenopausal patients. Based on the current knowledge of HOXB13 and IL17BR, we hypothesized that these genes may have individual prognostic or predictive power.

Patients and methods: Expression of HOXB13 and IL17BR were quantified by real-time PCR in tumors from 264 randomized postmenopausal patients and 93 systemically untreated premenopausal patients.

Results: A high HOXB13:IL17BR ratio was associated with aggressive tumor characteristics, as were low levels of IL17BR alone. The ratio and HOXB13 alone predicted recurrence-free survival after endocrine treatment, with a benefit of prolonged treatment in estrogen receptor-positive patients correlated to a low ratio (recurrence rate ratio: RR=0.39; p=0.030), or low expression of HOXB13 (RR=0.37; p=0.015). No difference in recurrence-free survival was seen for the high ratio or high HOXB13 subgroups. The predictive value of HOXB13 and HOXB13:IL17BR was significant in multivariate analysis. In the systemically untreated cohort, only IL17BR showed independent prognostic significance.

Conclusion: We conclude that the ratio or HOXB13 alone can predict the benefit of endocrine therapy, with a high ratio or a high expression rendering patients less likely to respond. We have also shown that IL17BR might be an independent prognostic factor in breast cancer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för klinisk och experimentell medicin, 2008
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-11861 (URN)10.1007/s10549-007-9541-8 (DOI)
Note
The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com: Piiha-Lotta Jerevall, Sara Brommesson, Carina Strand, Sofia Gruvberger-Saal, Per Malmström, Bo Nordenskjöld, Sten Wingren, Peter Söderkvist, Mårten Fernö and Olle Stål, Exploring the two-gene ratio in breast cancer – independent roles for HOXB13 and IL17BR in prediction of clinical outcome, 2008, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, (107), 2, 225-234. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-007-9541-8. Copyright: Springer, www.springerlink.comAvailable from: 2008-05-21 Created: 2008-05-21 Last updated: 2011-05-12Bibliographically approved
2. Prognostic utility of HOXB13:IL17BR and Molecular Grade Index in early-stage breast cancer patients from the Stockholm trial
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prognostic utility of HOXB13:IL17BR and Molecular Grade Index in early-stage breast cancer patients from the Stockholm trial
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2011 (English)In: British Journal of Cancer, ISSN 0007-0920, E-ISSN 1532-1827, Vol. 104, no 11, 1762-1769 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: A dichotomous index combining two gene expression assays, HOXB13:IL17BR (H:I) and molecular grade index (MGI), was developed to assess risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients. The study objective was to demonstrate the prognostic utility of the combined index in early-stage breast cancer.

Methods: In a blinded retrospective analysis of 588 ER-positive tamoxifen-treated and untreated breast cancer patients from the randomized prospective Stockholm trial, H:I and MGI were measured using real-time RT-PCR. Association with patient outcome was evaluated by Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazard regression. A continuous risk index was developed using Cox modeling.

Results: The dichotomous H:I+MGI was significantly associated with distant recurrence and breast cancer death. The >50% of tamoxifen-treated patients categorized as low-risk had <3% 10-year distant recurrence risk. A continuous risk model (Breast Cancer Index (BCI)) was developed with the tamoxifen-treated group and the prognostic performance tested in the untreated group was 53% of patients categorized as low-risk with an 8.3% 10-year distant recurrence risk.

Conclusion: Retrospective analysis of this randomized, prospective trial cohort validated the prognostic utility of H:I+MGI and was used to develop and test a continuous risk model that enables prediction of distant recurrence risk at the patient level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group, 2011
Keyword
Breast Cancer Index, recurrence, risk assessment, gene expression profiling, prognosis
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-68122 (URN)10.1038/bjc.2011.145 (DOI)000290953200016 ()
Conference
32nd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. December 10, San Diego
Note
Original Publication: Piiha-Lotta Jerevall, Xiai-Jun Ma, Hongying Li, Ranelle Salunga, Nicole C. Kesty, Mark G. Erlander, Dennis Sgroi, Birgitta Holmlund, Lambert Skoog, Tommy Fornander, Bo Nordenskjöld and Olle Stål, Prognostic utility of HOXB13:IL17BR and Molecular Grade Index in early-stage breast cancer patients from the Stockholm trial, 2011, British Journal of Cancer, (104), 11, 1762-1769. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/bjc.2011.145 Copyright: Nature Publishing Group http://npg.nature.com/ Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-05-11 Last updated: 2012-01-17Bibliographically approved
3. Predictive relevance of HOXB13 protein expression for tamoxifen benefit in breast cancer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predictive relevance of HOXB13 protein expression for tamoxifen benefit in breast cancer
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2010 (English)In: Breast Cancer Research, ISSN 1465-542X, Vol. 12, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: The HOXB13:IL17BR index has been identified to predict clinical outcome in the setting of adjuvant tamoxifen monotherapy of breast cancer. Further studies have shown that HOXB13 in particular can indicate benefit of prolonged tamoxifen treatment. Patients with high-expressing tumors did not benefit from prolonged treatment, suggesting that HOXB13 might be involved in tamoxifen resistance. No studies have been made regarding the HOXB13 protein levels in breast cancer. The aim of our study was to investigate whether tamoxifen benefit can be correlated to different levels of HOXB13 protein expression. METHODS: We used immunohistochemistry to analyze protein levels of HOXB13 in tumor samples from 912 postmenopausal node-negative breast cancer patients randomized to adjuvant tamoxifen therapy or no endocrine treatment. RESULTS: Tamoxifen-treated patients with estrogen receptor-positive tumors expressing none or low levels of HOXB13 had a clear benefit from tamoxifen in terms of longer distant recurrence-free survival (DRFS) (hazard ratio = 0.38, 95% confidence interval = 0.23 to 0.60, P = 0.000048). However, for patients with a high or intermediate HOXB13 tumor expression, tamoxifen did not prolong the DRFS compared with the untreated patients (hazard ratio = 0.88, 95% confidence interval = 0.47 to 1.65, P = 0.69). Interaction between HOXB13 expression and benefit from tamoxifen was statistically significant for DRFS (P = 0.035). No prognostic value could be ascribed to HOXB13 among systemically untreated patients. CONCLUSIONS: A high HOXB13 expression was associated with decreased benefit from tamoxifen, which indicates that HOXB13 protein level may be used as a predictive marker for tamoxifen treatment.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-58819 (URN)10.1186/bcr2612 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-08-27 Created: 2010-08-27 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved
4. Homeobox B13 protein expression in a randomized tamoxifen trial of premenopausal breast cancer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Homeobox B13 protein expression in a randomized tamoxifen trial of premenopausal breast cancer
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Homeobox B13 (HOXB13), part of the two-gene expression index HOXB13:IL17BR, has proven its capacity as a predictive factor of tamoxifen benefit in breast cancer. HOXB13 mRNA expression, as well as protein levels, have shown predictive value in postmenopausal patients. High levels were associated with decreased tamoxifen benefit and may indicate endocrine resistance. Here, we have analyzed HOXB13 protein expression in premenopausal breast cancer. We quantified the levels of HOXB13 with immunohistochemistry in tumor samples from 487 patients on tissue microarrays. Patients were diagnosed with stage II invasive breast cancer and randomized to tamoxifen or no endocrine treatment. HOXB13 protein analysis was successful for 367 patients. Data were correlated with clinicopathological variables. Investigation of tamoxifen benefit in patients with tumors expressing estrogen receptor (ER) α, progesterone receptor, or both, showed that patients with high HOXB13 levels had benefit from tamoxifen (hazard ratio for recurrences 0.43, 95% CI: 0.28-1.01, p=0.053). Corresponding numbers for the low HOXB13 group were 0.69 (95% CI: 0.44-1.07, p=0.10). For further analysis, we stratified the patients based on tumor ERβ status, which may function as a modifier of the performance of HOXB13 as a treatment predictive factor. For the ERβ positive subset of patients, there was a tendency towards a low HOXB13 expression associated with a better tamoxifen response. However, an increased benefit from tamoxifen, in terms of a longer recurrence-free survival (RFS), was associated with high HOXB13 expression in the ERβ negative group. The interaction between HOXB13 and treatment effect for RFS in the ERβ-negative group was significant in a multivariate model (p=0.04). In conclusion, in our study cohort, ERβ seems to be an additional determinant to HOXB13 protein expression for endocrine treatment prediction in premenopausal breast cancer. To identify patients less likely to respond to tamoxifen therapy, both HOXB13 and ERβ status should be taken into account.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-68120 (URN)
Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-05-11 Last updated: 2011-05-12Bibliographically approved

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