Overexpression of G1-S regulators cyclin D1 or cyclin A is frequently observed in breast cancer and is also to result in ligand-independent activation of oestrogen receptor in vitro. This might therefore, provide a mechanism for failure of tamoxifen treatment. We examined by immunohistochemical staining the effect of deregulation of these, and other cell cycle regulators on tamoxifen treatment in a group of 394 patients with early stage breast cancer. In univariate analysis, expression of cyclin A, Neu, Ki-67 index, and lack of OR expression were significantly associated with worse prognosis. When adjusted by the clinical model (for lymph node status, age, performance status, T-classification, grade, prior surgery, oestrogen receptor status and tamoxifen use), only overexpression of cyclin A and Neu were significantly associated with worse prognosis with hazard ratios of, respectively, 1.709 (P=0.0195) and 1.884 (P=0.0151). Overexpression of cyclin A was found in 86 out of the 201 OR-positive cases treated with tamoxifen, and was the only independent marker associated with worse prognosis (hazard ratio 2.024, P=0.0462). In conclusion, cyclin A is an independent predictor of recurrence of early stage breast cancer and is as such a marker for response in patients treated with tamoxifen.
Copyright 2002 The Cancer Research Campaign