From High-Throughput Microarray-Based Screening to Clinical Application: The Development of a Second Generation Multigene Test for Breast Cancer Prognosis

Microarrays (Basel). 2013 Aug 29;2(3):243-64. doi: 10.3390/microarrays2030243.


Several multigene tests have been developed for breast cancer patients to predict the individual risk of recurrence. Most of the first generation tests rely on proliferation-associated genes and are commonly carried out in central reference laboratories. Here, we describe the development of a second generation multigene assay, the EndoPredict test, a prognostic multigene expression test for estrogen receptor (ER) positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2) negative (ER+/HER2-) breast cancer patients. The EndoPredict gene signature was initially established in a large high-throughput microarray-based screening study. The key steps for biomarker identification are discussed in detail, in comparison to the establishment of other multigene signatures. After biomarker selection, genes and algorithms were transferred to a diagnostic platform (reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR)) to allow for assaying formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples. A comprehensive analytical validation was performed and a prospective proficiency testing study with seven pathological laboratories finally proved that EndoPredict can be reliably used in the decentralized setting. Three independent large clinical validation studies (n = 2,257) demonstrated that EndoPredict offers independent prognostic information beyond current clinicopathological parameters and clinical guidelines. The review article summarizes several important steps that should be considered for the development process of a second generation multigene test and offers a means for transferring a microarray signature from the research laboratory to clinical practice.

Keywords: EndoPredict; breast cancer; endocrine therapy; multigene test.

Publication types

  • Review