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Gene expression improves the definition of a breast cancer subtype
Date:12/20/2012

need an additional parameter to help us yet further fine-tune the histopathological diagnosis of Luminal A and B tumours," explains Dr Aleix Prat, leader of the study.

At present, the way of defining luminal or hormone-sensitive tumours is by testing positive to hormone receptors and negative to HER2 expression. The difference between a Luminal A and Luminal B tumour is the amount of Ki-67 protein detected by the pathologist in the tumour cells. If the tumour has fewer than 14% Ki-67-positive cells, it is classified as Luminal A. The problem with this definition of subtype Luminal A is that 30% of these tumours are actually shown as Luminal B by gene expression and hence have an unfavourable prognosis with hormone treatment alone.

A study offering diagnostic improvements

This study checked thousands of tumours from three independent groups from Spain (GEICAM cooperative group, Dr. Martn), Canada (University of British Columbia, Dr. Nielsen) and USA (University of North Carolina, Dr. Perou), to compare whether histopathological data matches the profiles of gene expression, and detected some major discrepancies. Once these differences had been identified, the team sought a new parameter that could be measured in the laboratory to fine-tune the definition. "The genomic study we conducted has shown that the amount of progesterone receptor is important in distinguishing the two biological entities. We can use this new variable as a marker to improve the current histopathological definition of Luminal A tumours," explains Dr Prat. The higher the number of tumour cells that are progesterone-receptor positive, the more likely it is that the diagnosis will be a Luminal A tumour.

The new histopathological definition of Luminal A tumours proposed by this study is "hormone receptor positive, negative HER2 expression, Ki-67-positive lower than 14% and progesterone-receptor positive higher than 20%," specifies Dr Prat.


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Contact: Amanda Wren
awren@vhio.net
34-695-207-886
Vall dHebron Institute of Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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