Genetic predictors of taxane-induced neurotoxicity in a SWOG phase III intergroup adjuvant breast cancer treatment trial (S0221)

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Dec;130(3):993-1002. doi: 10.1007/s10549-011-1671-3. Epub 2011 Jul 16.


Taxanes have resulted in improved survival for breast cancer patients, but often cause neurological toxicities. Identification of biomarkers related to toxicities could be important for dictating treatment regimen. We evaluated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Fanconi Anemia (FA)/BRCA pathway in relation to grade 3/4 neurotoxicities in patients (n = 888) from SWOG0221, a phase III adjuvant trial for breast cancer of 4 dose/schedules of cyclophosphamide (C), doxorubicin (A), and paclitaxel (T). In a separate cohort, we measured the correlation of significant FANCD2 SNPs with corresponding gene expression. For FANCD2, permutation testing revealed that 4 (out of 20) SNPs were significantly associated with an almost two-fold increased risk of toxicity. Two FANCD2 haplotypes were also associated with neurological toxicity, with odds ratios (OR) in the overall population of 1.8 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3, 2.5) and 1.7 (95% CI, 1.2, 2.4). Although numbers were small, an African-American-specific haplotype was associated with an almost 3-fold increase in risk of neurologic toxicity (OR = 2.84, 95% CI = 1.2, 6.9). Expression analyses revealed that significant FANCD2 SNPs were associated with FANCD2 expression levels (P = 0.03). There were no associations between SNPs in BRCA1 and neurotoxicities. In this trial of CA+T for breast cancer, SNPs in FANCD2, but not in BRCA1, were associated with a 70-80% increase in the odds of grade 3/4 neurological toxicities and increased expression of the gene. If replicated, women with these genotypes should be closely monitored for toxicities and could be targeted for preventive measures or alternative therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Fanconi Anemia Complementation Group D2 Protein / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Taxoids / adverse effects*
  • Taxoids / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fanconi Anemia Complementation Group D2 Protein
  • Genetic Markers
  • Taxoids

Grant support