Homologous Recombination Deficiency and Platinum-Based Therapy Outcomes in Advanced Breast Cancer

Clin Cancer Res. 2017 Dec 15;23(24):7521-7530. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-1941.


Purpose: Recent studies have identified mutation signatures of homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) in over 20% of breast cancers, as well as pancreatic, ovarian, and gastric cancers. There is an urgent need to understand the clinical implications of HRD signatures. Whereas BRCA1/2 mutations confer sensitivity to platinum-based chemotherapies, it is not yet clear whether mutation signatures can independently predict platinum response.Experimental Design: In this observational study, we sequenced tumor whole genomes (100× depth) and matched normals (60×) of 93 advanced-stage breast cancers (33 platinum-treated). We computed a published metric called HRDetect, independently trained to predict BRCA1/2 status, and assessed its capacity to predict outcomes on platinum-based chemotherapies. Clinical endpoints were overall survival (OS), total duration on platinum-based therapy (TDT), and radiographic evidence of clinical improvement (CI).Results: HRDetect predicted BRCA1/2 status with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.94 and optimal threshold of 0.7. Elevated HRDetect was also significantly associated with CI on platinum-based therapy (AUC = 0.89; P = 0.006) with the same optimal threshold, even after adjusting for BRCA1/2 mutation status and treatment timing. HRDetect scores over 0.7 were associated with a 3-month extended median TDT (P = 0.0003) and 1.3-year extended median OS (P = 0.04).Conclusions: Our findings not only independently validate HRDetect, but also provide the first evidence of its association with platinum response in advanced breast cancer. We demonstrate that HRD mutation signatures may offer clinically relevant information independently of BRCA1/2 mutation status and hope this work will guide the development of clinical trials. Clin Cancer Res; 23(24); 7521-30. ©2017 AACR.

MeSH terms

  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Homologous Recombination / drug effects
  • Homologous Recombination / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Platinum / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Platinum