Background: PAM50 is a 50-gene test that is designed to identify intrinsic breast cancer subtypes and generate a Risk of Recurrence (ROR) score. It has been developed to be carried out in qualified routine hospital pathology laboratories.
Patients and methods: One thousand four hundred seventy-eight postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER)+ early breast cancer (EBC) treated with tamoxifen or tamoxifen followed by anastrozole from the prospective randomized ABCSG-8 trial were entered into this study. Patients did not receive adjuvant chemotherapy. RNA was extracted from paraffin blocks and analyzed using the PAM50 test. Both intrinsic subtype (luminal A/B, HER2-enriched, basal-like) and ROR score were calculated. The primary analysis was designed to test whether the continuous ROR score adds prognostic value in predicting distant recurrence (DR) over and above standard clinical variables.
Results: In all tested subgroups, ROR score significantly adds prognostic information to the clinical predictor (P<0.0001). PAM50 assigns an intrinsic subtype to all cases, and the luminal A cohort had a significantly lower ROR at 10 years compared with Luminal B (P<0.0001). Significant and clinically relevant discrimination between low- and high-risk groups occurred also within all tested subgroups.
Conclusion(s): The results of the primary analysis, in combination with recently published results from the ATAC trial, constitute Level 1 evidence for clinical validity of the PAM50 test for predicting the risk of DR in postmenopausal women with ER+ EBC. A 10-year metastasis risk of <3.5% in the ROR low category makes it unlikely that additional chemotherapy would improve this outcome-this finding could help to avoid unwarranted overtreatment.
Clinical trial number: ABCSG 8: NCT00291759.
Keywords: Risk of Recurrence (ROR); clinical prognostic factors; early breast cancer; intrinsic subtypes; metastasis prediction; prognosis.