Benefit to neoadjuvant anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted therapies in HER2-positive primary breast cancer is independent of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted from chromosome 10 (PTEN) status

Ann Oncol. 2015 Jul;26(7):1494-500. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv175. Epub 2015 Apr 7.


Background: Assessment of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted from chromosome 10 (PTEN) might be an important tool in identifying human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer patients unlikely to derive benefit from anti-HER2 therapies. However, studies to date have failed to demonstrate its predictive role in any treatment setting.

Patients and methods: Prospectively collected baseline core biopsies from 429 early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab, lapatinib, or their combination in the Neo-ALTTO study were stained using two anti-PTEN monoclonal antibodies (CST and DAKO). The association of PTEN status and PI3K pathway activation (defined as either PTEN loss and/or PIK3CA mutation) with total pathological complete response (tpCR) at surgery, event-free survival (EFS), and overall survival (OS) was evaluated.

Results: PTEN loss was observed in 27% and 29% of patients (all arms, n = 361 and n = 363) for CST and DAKO, respectively. PTEN loss was more frequently observed in hormone receptor (HR)-negative (33% and 36% with CST and DAKO, respectively) compared with HR-positive tumours (20% and 22% with CST and DAKO, respectively). No significant differences in tpCR rates were observed according to PTEN status. PI3K pathway activation was found in 47% and 48% of patients (all arms, n = 302 and n = 301) for CST and DAKO, respectively. Similarly, tpCR rates were not significantly different for those with or without PI3K pathway activation. Neither PTEN status nor PI3K pathway activation were predictive of tpCR, EFS, or OS, independently of treatment arm or HR status. High inter-antibody and inter-observer agreements were found (>90%). Modification of scoring variables significantly affected the correlation between PTEN and HR status but not with tpCR.

Conclusion: These data show that PTEN status determination is not a useful biomarker to predict resistance to trastuzumab and lapatinib-based therapies. The lack of standardization of PTEN status determination may influence correlations between expression and relevant clinical end points.

Clinical trials: This trial is registered with NCT00553358.

Keywords: HER2-positive; PIK3CA; PTEN; breast cancer; lapatinib; trastuzumab.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 10 / genetics*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lapatinib
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quinazolines / administration & dosage
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Remission Induction
  • Trastuzumab / administration & dosage


  • Quinazolines
  • Lapatinib
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human
  • Trastuzumab

Associated data