Background: Breast cancer 1, early onset (BRCA1) is a tumour-suppressor gene associated with familial epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Reduced BRCA1 expression is associated with enhanced sensitivity to platinum-based chemotherapy. We sought to examine the prognostic relevance of BRCA1 expression in EOC patients treated with intraperitoneal platinum/taxane.
Methods: The GOG-172 was a phase III, multi-institutional randomised trial of intravenous paclitaxel and cisplatin (IV therapy) vs intravenous paclitaxel, intraperitoneal cisplatin plus paclitaxel (IP therapy) in patients with optimally resected stage III EOC. The BRCA1 expression was assessed with immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining blinded to clinical outcome in archival tumour specimens. Slides with 10% staining were defined as aberrant and >10% as normal. Correlations between BRCA1 expression and progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were analysed using Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression analysis.
Results: Of the 393 patients, 189 tumours had aberrant expression, and 204 had normal BRCA1 expression. There was an interaction between BRCA1 expression and route of administration on OS (P=0.014) but not PFS (P=0.054). In tumours with normal BRCA1 expression, the median OS was 58 months for IP group vs 50 months for IV group (P=0.818). In tumours with aberrant BRCA1 expression, the median OS was 84 vs 47 months in the IP vs IV group, respectively (P=0.0002). Aberrant BRCA1 expression was an independent prognostic factor for better survival in women randomised to IP therapy (hazard ratio (HR)=0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.47-0.97, P=0.032). Similar survival was observed in the IV and IP patients with normal BRCA1 expression. Multivariate but not univariate modelling demonstrated that IV patients with aberrant vs normal BRCA1 expression had worse survival.
Conclusion: Decreased BRCA1 expression is associated with a 36-month survival improvement in patients with EOC treated with IP chemotherapy. Although these results merit validation in future studies, the results suggest that decreased BRCA1 expression predicts for improved response to cisplatin-based IP chemotherapy with cisplatin and paclitaxel.