Integration of a Radiosensitivity Molecular Signature Into the Assessment of Local Recurrence Risk in Breast Cancer

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Nov 1;93(3):631-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.06.021. Epub 2015 Jun 25.


Purpose: Recently, we developed radiosensitivity (RSI), a clinically validated molecular signature that estimates tumor radiosensitivity. In the present study, we tested whether integrating RSI with the molecular subtype refines the classification of local recurrence (LR) risk in breast cancer.

Methods and materials: RSI and molecular subtype were evaluated in 343 patients treated with breast-conserving therapy that included whole-breast radiation therapy with or without a tumor bed boost (dose range 45-72 Gy). The follow-up period for patients without recurrence was 10 years. The clinical endpoint was LR-free survival.

Results: Although RSI did not uniformly predict for LR across the entire cohort, combining RSI and the molecular subtype identified a subpopulation with an increased risk of LR: triple negative (TN) and radioresistant (reference TN-radioresistant, hazard ratio [HR] 0.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.15-0.92, P=.02). TN patients who were RSI-sensitive/intermediate had LR rates similar to those of luminal (LUM) patients (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.47-1.57, P=.63). On multivariate analysis, combined RSI and molecular subtype (P=.004) and age (P=.001) were the most significant predictors of LR. In contrast, integrating RSI into the LUM subtype did not identify additional risk groups. We hypothesized that radiation dose escalation was affecting radioresistance in the LUM subtype and serving as a confounder. An increased radiation dose decreased LR only in the luminal-resistant (LUM-R) subset (HR 0.23, 95% CI 0.05-0.98, P=.03). On multivariate analysis, the radiation dose was an independent variable only in the LUMA/B-RR subset (HR 0.025, 95% CI 0.001-0.946, P=.046), along with age (P=.008), T stage (P=.004), and chemotherapy (P=.008).

Conclusions: The combined molecular subtype-RSI identified a novel molecular subpopulation (TN and radioresistant) with an increased risk of LR after breast-conserving therapy. We propose that the combination of RSI and molecular subtype could be useful in guiding radiation therapy-based decisions in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy, Segmental / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary
  • Prognosis
  • Radiation Tolerance / genetics*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / therapy


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Receptor, ErbB-2