Background: PPP2R2A deletions were recently linked to a subgroup of luminal breast carcinoma (BC) that exhibits poor survival. This subgroup also exhibited amplification of a chromosome region containing the Cyclin D1 coding gene, CCND1. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether a combination of PPP2R2A (B55α) and Cyclin D1 expression statuses evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) could define a subgroup of luminal BC that exhibits poor survival.
Methods: First we conducted a retrospective cohort study using sequencing data from The Cancer Genome Atlas initiative to correlate PPP2R2A copy number alteration (CNA) status with its expression level and the corresponding overall survival (OS). Next, also using a retrospective cohort study design, we evaluated the PPP2R2A (B55α) expression levels by IHC in a total of 807 BC patients from two independent cohorts (discovery cohort n = 349 and validation cohort n = 458). Cyclin D1 expression was also evaluated, and the PPP2R2A (B55α)(-/low)/Cyclin D1(high) phenotype was evaluated as a predictor of disease-free survival (DFS) and OS in luminal-like BC patients.
Results: Deletions in the PPP2R2A gene strongly correlate with lower mRNA expression and poorer OS. PPP2R2A (B55α)(-/low) carcinomas have significantly shorter DFS and OS. Furthermore, in univariate analysis, the PPP2R2A (B55α)(-/low)/Cyclin D1(high) phenotype is significantly associated with poorer DFS and OS. In a multivariate analysis, the PPP2R2A (B55α)(-/low)/Cyclin D1(high) phenotype is significantly associated with poor DFS, thus defining a group of luminal-like BC with higher risk of relapse.
Conclusion: We demonstrate that BCs harboring PPP2R2A deletions are associated with worse OS. Moreover, this is the first study to demonstrate that the combination of altered PPP2R2A (B55α) and high Cyclin D1 expression by IHC defines a subgroup of luminal-like BC patients with a high risk of relapse and death.