Context: Prediction of high probability of survival from standard cancer treatments is fundamental for individualized cancer treatment strategies.
Objective: To develop a predictor of response and survival from chemotherapy for newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer.
Design, setting, and patients: Prospective multicenter study conducted from June 2000 to March 2010 at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center to develop and test genomic predictors for neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Patients were those with newly diagnosed ERBB2 (HER2 or HER2/neu)-negative breast cancer treated with chemotherapy containing sequential taxane and anthracycline-based regimens (then endocrine therapy if estrogen receptor [ER]-positive). Different predictive signatures for resistance and response to preoperative (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy (stratified according to ER status) were developed from gene expression microarrays of newly diagnosed breast cancer (310 patients). Breast cancer treatment sensitivity was then predicted using the combination of signatures for (1) sensitivity to endocrine therapy, (2) chemoresistance, and (3) chemosensitivity, with independent validation (198 patients) and comparison with other reported genomic predictors of chemotherapy response.
Main outcome measures: Distant relapse-free survival (DRFS) if predicted treatment sensitive and absolute risk reduction ([ARR], difference in DRFS between 2 predicted groups) at median follow-up (3 years).
Results: Patients in the independent validation cohort (99% clinical stage II-III) who were predicted to be treatment sensitive (28%) had 56% (95% CI, 31%-78%) probability of excellent pathologic response and DRFS of 92% (95% CI, 85%-100%), with an ARR of 18% (95% CI, 6%-28%). Survival was predicted in ER-positive (30% predicted sensitive; DRFS, 97% [95% CI, 91%-100%]; ARR, 11% [95% CI, 0.1%-21%]) and ER-negative (26% predicted sensitive; DRFS, 83% [95% CI, 68%-100%]; ARR, 26% [95% CI, 4%-48%]) subsets and was significant in multivariate analysis. Other genomic predictors showed paradoxically worse survival for patients predicted to be responsive to chemotherapy.
Conclusion: A genomic predictor combining ER status, predicted chemoresistance, predicted chemosensitivity, and predicted endocrine sensitivity identified patients with high probability of survival following taxane and anthracycline chemotherapy.