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Strategies for subtypes—dealing with the diversity of breast cancer: highlights of the St Gallen International Expert Consensus on the Primary Therapy of Early Breast Cancer 2011

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      Abstract

      The 12th St Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference (2011) Expert Panel adopted a new approach to the classification of patients for therapeutic purposes based on the recognition of intrinsic biological subtypes within the breast cancer spectrum. For practical purposes, these subtypes may be approximated using clinicopathological rather than gene expression array criteria. In general, systemic therapy recommendations follow the subtype classification. Thus, ‘Luminal A’ disease generally requires only endocrine therapy, which also forms part of the treatment of the ‘Luminal B’ subtype. Chemotherapy is considered indicated for most patients with ‘Luminal B', ‘Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (HER2) positive’, and ‘Triple negative (ductal)’ disease, with the addition of trastuzumab in ‘HER2 positive’ disease. Progress was also noted in defining better tolerated local therapies in selected cases without loss of efficacy, such as accelerated radiation therapy and the omission of axillary dissection under defined circumstances. Broad treatment recommendations are presented, recognizing that detailed treatment decisions need to consider disease extent, host factors, patient preferences, and social and economic constraints.

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      Molecular portraits of human breast tumours.

      Human breast tumours are diverse in their natural history and in their responsiveness to treatments. Variation in transcriptional programs accounts for much of the biological diversity of human cells and tumours. In each cell, signal transduction and regulatory systems transduce information from the cell's identity to its environmental status, thereby controlling the level of expression of every gene in the genome. Here we have characterized variation in gene expression patterns in a set of 65 surgical specimens of human breast tumours from 42 different individuals, using complementary DNA microarrays representing 8,102 human genes. These patterns provided a distinctive molecular portrait of each tumour. Twenty of the tumours were sampled twice, before and after a 16-week course of doxorubicin chemotherapy, and two tumours were paired with a lymph node metastasis from the same patient. Gene expression patterns in two tumour samples from the same individual were almost always more similar to each other than either was to any other sample. Sets of co-expressed genes were identified for which variation in messenger RNA levels could be related to specific features of physiological variation. The tumours could be classified into subtypes distinguished by pervasive differences in their gene expression patterns.
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        Supervised risk predictor of breast cancer based on intrinsic subtypes.

        PURPOSE To improve on current standards for breast cancer prognosis and prediction of chemotherapy benefit by developing a risk model that incorporates the gene expression-based "intrinsic" subtypes luminal A, luminal B, HER2-enriched, and basal-like. METHODS A 50-gene subtype predictor was developed using microarray and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction data from 189 prototype samples. Test sets from 761 patients (no systemic therapy) were evaluated for prognosis, and 133 patients were evaluated for prediction of pathologic complete response (pCR) to a taxane and anthracycline regimen. The intrinsic subtypes as discrete entities showed prognostic significance (P = 2.26E-12) and remained significant in multivariable analyses that incorporated standard parameters (estrogen receptor status, histologic grade, tumor size, and node status). A prognostic model for node-negative breast cancer was built using intrinsic subtype and clinical information. The C-index estimate for the combined model (subtype and tumor size) was a significant improvement on either the clinicopathologic model or subtype model alone. The intrinsic subtype model predicted neoadjuvant chemotherapy efficacy with a negative predictive value for pCR of 97%. CONCLUSION Diagnosis by intrinsic subtype adds significant prognostic and predictive information to standard parameters for patients with breast cancer. The prognostic properties of the continuous risk score will be of value for the management of node-negative breast cancers. The subtypes and risk score can also be used to assess the likelihood of efficacy from neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
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          Trastuzumab plus adjuvant chemotherapy for operable HER2-positive breast cancer.

          We present the combined results of two trials that compared adjuvant chemotherapy with or without concurrent trastuzumab in women with surgically removed HER2-positive breast cancer. The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project trial B-31 compared doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide followed by paclitaxel every 3 weeks (group 1) with the same regimen plus 52 weeks of trastuzumab beginning with the first dose of paclitaxel (group 2). The North Central Cancer Treatment Group trial N9831 compared three regimens: doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide followed by weekly paclitaxel (group A), the same regimen followed by 52 weeks of trastuzumab after paclitaxel (group B), and the same regimen plus 52 weeks of trastuzumab initiated concomitantly with paclitaxel (group C). The studies were amended to include a joint analysis comparing groups 1 and A (the control group) with groups 2 and C (the trastuzumab group). Group B was excluded because trastuzumab was not given concurrently with paclitaxel. By March 15, 2005, 394 events (recurrent, second primary cancer, or death before recurrence) had been reported, triggering the first scheduled interim analysis. Of these, 133 were in the trastuzumab group and 261 in the control group (hazard ratio, 0.48; P<0.0001). This result crossed the early stopping boundary. The absolute difference in disease-free survival between the trastuzumab group and the control group was 12 percent at three years. Trastuzumab therapy was associated with a 33 percent reduction in the risk of death (P=0.015). The three-year cumulative incidence of class III or IV congestive heart failure or death from cardiac causes in the trastuzumab group was 4.1 percent in trial B-31 and 2.9 percent in trial N9831. Trastuzumab combined with paclitaxel after doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide improves outcomes among women with surgically removed HER2-positive breast cancer. (ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00004067 and NCT00005970.) Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]International Breast Cancer Study Group, Department of Medicine, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy
            [2 ]Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, N. E. Atlanta, USA
            [3 ]International Breast Cancer Study Group and University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
            [4 ]International Breast Cancer Study Group Statistical Center, Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
            [5 ]Breast Center, Kantonsspital St Gallen, St Gallen
            [6 ]Tumor and Breast Center ZeTuP, St Gallen, Switzerland
            Author notes
            [* ] Correspondence to: Prof. A. Goldhirsch, International Breast Cancer Study Group, Department of Medicine, European Institute of Oncology, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141 Milan, Italy. Tel: +39-02-57489439; Fax: +39-02-94379273; E-mail: aron.goldhirsch@ 123456ibcsg.org ;
            [†]

            See Appendix 1 for members of the Panel.

            Journal
            Ann Oncol
            annonc
            annonc
            Annals of Oncology
            Oxford University Press
            0923-7534
            1569-8041
            August 2011
            27 June 2011
            27 June 2011
            : 22
            : 8 , In this issue: EU recognition for Medical Oncology Focus on translational research
            : 1736-1747
            3144634
            21709140
            10.1093/annonc/mdr304
            © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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