Validation of a radiosensitivity molecular signature in breast cancer

Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Sep 15;18(18):5134-43. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-0891. Epub 2012 Jul 25.


Purpose: Previously, we developed a radiosensitivity molecular signature [radiosensitivity index (RSI)] that was clinically validated in 3 independent datasets (rectal, esophageal, and head and neck) in 118 patients. Here, we test RSI in radiotherapy (RT)-treated breast cancer patients.

Experimental design: RSI was tested in 2 previously published breast cancer datasets. Patients were treated at the Karolinska University Hospital (n = 159) and Erasmus Medical Center (n = 344). RSI was applied as previously described.

Results: We tested RSI in RT-treated patients (Karolinska). Patients predicted to be radiosensitive (RS) had an improved 5-year relapse-free survival when compared with radioresistant (RR) patients (95% vs. 75%, P = 0.0212), but there was no difference between RS/RR patients treated without RT (71% vs. 77%, P = 0.6744), consistent with RSI being RT-specific (interaction term RSI × RT, P = 0.05). Similarly, in the Erasmus dataset, RT-treated RS patients had an improved 5-year distant metastasis-free survival over RR patients (77% vs. 64%, P = 0.0409), but no difference was observed in patients treated without RT (RS vs. RR, 80% vs. 81%, P = 0.9425). Multivariable analysis showed RSI is the strongest variable in RT-treated patients (Karolinska, HR = 5.53, P = 0.0987, Erasmus, HR = 1.64, P = 0.0758) and in backward selection (removal α of 0.10), RSI was the only variable remaining in the final model. Finally, RSI is an independent predictor of outcome in RT-treated ER(+) patients (Erasmus, multivariable analysis, HR = 2.64, P = 0.0085).

Conclusions: RSI is validated in 2 independent breast cancer datasets totaling 503 patients. Including prior data, RSI is validated in 5 independent cohorts (621 patients) and represents, to our knowledge, the most extensively validated molecular signature in radiation oncology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Radiation Tolerance / genetics*
  • Transcriptome
  • Treatment Outcome