Biomarkers predictive of response to mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, everolimus, in endocrine receptor (ER)-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) are a work in progress. We evaluated the feasibility of directly measuring mTOR activity and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) expression and correlating their expression with response and survival.
MBC patients who received everolimus with endocrine therapy (ET) after progression on an aromatase inhibitor and had adequate tissue preservation for estimation of mTOR activity and PTEN expression were selected for analysis from a prospectively maintained database. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were estimated by Kaplan–Meier method, and correlation between mTOR activity and PTEN expression with survival was done by log-rank test.
Thirteen ER-positive MBC patients were available for analysis. PTEN expression was lost in 11/13 (84.6%) patients and retained in 2/13 patients (15.4%). mTOR activity was absent in four patients (30.7%), weak in six patients (46.1%), and moderate in 3 patients (23.2%). Median PFS for the entire population was 2.5 months while median OS was not reached. Patients with an absent mTOR activity showed a longer PFS (5 vs. 1.5 vs. 2 months) than those with weak and moderate activity, respectively ( P = 0.043). There was no correlation between loss of PTEN expression and PFS.