Aims: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is responsible for a disproportionate number of breast cancer (BC) deaths, owing to its intrinsic aggressiveness and a lack of treatment options, especially targeted therapies. Thus, there is an urgent need for the development of better targeted treatments for TNBC. Molecular alteration of AKT-3 was previously reported in oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive BC. AKT-3 has also been suggested to play a role in hormone-unresponsive BC. The aim of this study was to investigate molecular alterations of AKT-3 in TNBC, to perform associated survival analysis, and to compare these findings with the incidence of AKT-3 molecular alterations in ER-positive BC.
Results: Our study revealed AKT-3 amplification and deletions in 11% (9/82) and 13% (11/82) of TNBCs, respectively. In contrast, 1% (2/209) of ER-positive BCs were found to have AKT-3 amplifications and deletions. A higher prevalence of AKT-3 copy number gains was observed in TNBC [26% (21/82)] than in ER-positive BC [9% (19/209)]. AKT-3 amplification together with Akt-3 protein expression was negatively associated with recurrence-free survival in TNBC. Furthermore, a negative association between high AKT-3 copy number and recurrence-free survival was observed.
Conclusion: AKT-3 amplification could represent a potentially relevant oncogenic event in a subset of TNBCs that may, in turn, select cells sensitive to Akt-3 inhibitors.
Keywords: AKT-3; ER-positive breast cancer; fluorescence in-situ hybridization; molecular alterations; triple-negative breast cancer.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.