Short-term outcome of primary operated early breast cancer by hormone and HER-2 receptors

Olivier Brouckaert, Saskia Pintens, Vanya Van Belle, Sabine Van Huffel, Edward Camerlynck, Frédéric Amant, Karin Leunen, An Smeets, Patrick Berteloot, Erik Van Limbergen, Julie Decock, Wouter R. Hendrickx, Caroline Weltens, Walter Van Den Bogaert, Isabelle Vanden Bempt, Maria Drijkoningen, Robert Paridaens, Hans Wildiers, Ignace Vergote, Marie Rose ChristiaensPatrick Neven

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Prognostic subgroup classification of operable breast cancers using cDNA clustering of breast cancer-related genes resembles the classification based on the combined immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of the hormone and HER-2 receptors. We here report the short-term disease-free interval (DFI) of operable breast cancers by their joint hormone receptor/HER-2 phenotype. Patients and methods Short-term follow-up (FU) of a prospective cohort of 1,958 breast-cancer patients primary operated at our institution between 2000 and 2005. Receptors were evaluated using IHC. Steroid receptors were considered positive for any nuclear staining; HER-2 for strong (3+) membrane staining or positive fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Kaplan-Meier (KM) DFI curves were calculated for any relapse defined as a local, regional, contralateral, or distant breast cancer event for the six predefined breast cancer subgroups: ER + PR + HER-2 - (PPN), ER + PR - HER-2 - (PNN), ER + PR + HER-2 + (PPP), ER - PR - HER-2 - (NNN), ER - PR - HER-2 + (NNP), and ER + PR - HER-2 + (PNP). P-values were calculated for comparison of the six different survival curves using two possible adaptations for multiple testing. A multivariate model for the receptors predicting DFI did incorporate local and systemic adjuvant therapy. Results Median patient age was 57 years (ranges 26-96) and median FU was 3.35 years. Overall, DFI at median FU was 91%; 94% for PPN, 89% for PNN, 86% for NNN, 81% for PPP, 80% for PNP, and 76% for NNP cases. Some receptor subgroups had a significantly better DFI than others based on multiple testing, especially when the PPN group was compared against the four most frequent subtypes. The multivariate model with local and systemic adjuvant therapy confirmed the prognostic value of ER, PR, and HER-2 for short-term DFI. Conclusion It is possible to distinguish short-term prognostic breast cancer subgroups only on the basis of ER, PR, and HER-2 even when stratified for local and systemic adjuvant therapy. While gene expression profiles based on microarray data of over hundreds of genes will probably teach us much about breast cancer biology, heterogeneity, and prognosis, we emphasize the important short-term prognostic value of currently used IHC markers for ER, PR, and HER-2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-358
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Breast cancer
  • Disease free interval
  • Disease free survival
  • Estrogen receptor
  • HER-2
  • Progesterone receptor
  • Steroid receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Brouckaert, O., Pintens, S., Van Belle, V., Van Huffel, S., Camerlynck, E., Amant, F., Leunen, K., Smeets, A., Berteloot, P., Van Limbergen, E., Decock, J., Hendrickx, W. R., Weltens, C., Van Den Bogaert, W., Vanden Bempt, I., Drijkoningen, M., Paridaens, R., Wildiers, H., Vergote, I., ... Neven, P. (2009). Short-term outcome of primary operated early breast cancer by hormone and HER-2 receptors. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 115(2), 349-358.