Yong Hannah Wen

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (13)84.27 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The DNA damage response (DDR) is activated by oncogenic stress, but the mechanisms by which this occurs, and the particular DDR functions that constitute barriers to tumorigenesis, remain unclear. We established a mouse model of sporadic oncogene-driven breast tumorigenesis in a series of mutant mouse strains with specific DDR deficiencies to reveal a role for the Mre11 complex in the response to oncogene activation. We demonstrate that an Mre11-mediated DDR restrains mammary hyperplasia by effecting an oncogene-induced G2 arrest. Impairment of Mre11 complex functions promotes the progression of mammary hyperplasias into invasive and metastatic breast cancers, which are often associated with secondary inactivation of the Ink4a-Arf (CDKN2a) locus. These findings provide insight into the mechanism of DDR engagement by activated oncogenes and highlight genetic interactions between the DDR and Ink4a-Arf pathways in suppression of oncogene-driven tumorigenesis and metastasis.
    Molecular cell 10/2013; · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Triple-negative (TN) breast cancers, which are associated with a more aggressive clinical course and poorer prognosis, often present with benign imaging features on mammography and ultrasound. The purpose of this study was to compare the magnetic resonance imaging features of TN breast cancers with estrogen (ER) and progesterone (PR) positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2) negative cancers. Retrospective review identified 140 patients with TN breast cancer who underwent a preoperative breast MRI between 2003 and 2008. Comparison was made to 181 patients with ER+/PR+/HER2- cancer. Breast MRIs were independently reviewed by two radiologists blinded to the pathology. Discrepancies were resolved by a third radiologist. TN cancers presented with a larger tumor size (p = 0.002), higher histologic grade (<0.001), and were more likely to be unifocal (p = 0.018) compared with ER+/PR+/HER2- tumors. MRI features associated with TN tumors included mass enhancement (p = 0.026), areas of intratumoral high T2 signal intensity (p < 0.001), lobulated shape (p < 0.001), rim enhancement (p < 0.001), and smooth margins (p = 0.005). Among the TN tumors with marked necrosis, 26% showed a large central acellular zone of necrosis.
    The Breast Journal 09/2013; · 1.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: How organ-specific metastatic traits arise in primary tumors remains unknown. Here, we show a role of the breast tumor stroma in selecting cancer cells that are primed for metastasis in bone. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in triple-negative (TN) breast tumors skew heterogeneous cancer cell populations toward a predominance of clones that thrive on the CAF-derived factors CXCL12 and IGF1. Limiting concentrations of these factors select for cancer cells with high Src activity, a known clinical predictor of bone relapse and an enhancer of PI3K-Akt pathway activation by CXCL12 and IGF1. Carcinoma clones selected in this manner are primed for metastasis in the CXCL12-rich microenvironment of the bone marrow. The evidence suggests that stromal signals resembling those of a distant organ select for cancer cells that are primed for metastasis in that organ, thus illuminating the evolution of metastatic traits in a primary tumor and its distant metastases.
    Cell 08/2013; 154(5):1060-73. · 31.96 Impact Factor
  • Dara S Ross, Yong Hannah Wen, Edi Brogi
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    ABSTRACT: Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is an established precursor of invasive breast carcinoma. Immunoperoxidase stains for selected markers can assist pathologists in the diagnosis of challenging ductal epithelial proliferations, but they cannot replace morphologic evaluation as the primary and critical assessment of this disease. Molecular studies provide further insight into how DCIS progresses to invasive carcinoma and also confirm the heterogeneity of this lesion. Morphology-based knowledge, immunohistochemistry, and molecular advances in DCIS are the subjects of this review.
    Advances in anatomic pathology 07/2013; 20(4):205-16. · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) disproportionately affects black women. However, black race as a prognostic factor in TNBC has not been well studied. We evaluated the effect of race, among other variables, on outcomes in women with TNBC. A total of 704 patients with stages I-III TNBC treated with breast-conserving surgery ± adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) and chemotherapy were identified from an institutional database. Competing risk analyses, Kaplan-Meier methods, and Cox proportional hazards models identified associations among clinicopathologic variables on locoregional recurrence (LRR), distant recurrence (DR), and overall survival (OS). LRR was defined as a biopsy proven, triple receptor-negative recurrence in the ipsilateral breast or regional lymph nodes. At a median follow-up of 51 months, there were 55 LRR, 61 DR, and 111 death events. Compared to non-black women, black women had higher disease stage and were more likely to receive axillary lymph node dissection, chemotherapy, and nodal irradiation (all P < 0.05). After adjustment for stage, age, lymphovascular invasion, chemotherapy, and RT on multivariate analysis, black race was prognostic for increased risk of LRR (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.17; 95 % confidence interval: 1.7-5.8; P = 0.0002). The 5-year risk of regional recurrence was higher in black women (10 vs. 2 %, P < 0.0001), but local failures were similar between groups (3.0 vs. 5.3 %, P = 0.15). RT was an independent predictor for decreased LRR and increased OS on multivariate analyses (P = 0.0006 and P = 0.0003, respectively). Black women with TNBC had equivalent local control, but higher risk of regional nodal failure, compared with non-black counterparts. The routine use of comprehensive nodal irradiation may be beneficial for black women with TNBC.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 05/2013; · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously demonstrated a high specificity of immunohistochemistry using epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation-specific antibodies in lung adenocarcinoma and correlation with EGFR mutation analysis. In this study, we assessed EGFR mutation status by immunohistochemistry in a variety of extrapulmonary malignancies, especially those that frequently show EGFR overexpression. Tissue microarrays containing triplicate cores of breast carcinomas (n=300), colorectal carcinomas (n=65), pancreatic adenocarcinoma (n=145), and uterine carcinosarcoma or malignant mixed müllerian tumors (n=25) were included in the study. Tissue microarray of lung adenocarcinoma with known EGFR mutation status was used as reference. Immunohistochemistry was performed using antibodies specific for the E746-A750del and L858R mutations. In pulmonary adenocarcinoma, a staining intensity of 2+ or 3+ correlates with mutation status and is therefore considered as positive. Out of 300 breast carcinomas, 293 (98%) scored 0, 5 (2%) had 1+ staining, 2 (1%) were 2+ for the L858R antibody. All breast carcinomas scored 0 with the E746-A750 antibody. All the colorectal, pancreatic carcinomas and malignant mixed müllerian tumors were negative (0) for both antibodies. Molecular analysis of the breast carcinomas that scored 2+ for L858R showed no mutation. Our results show that EGFR mutation-specific antibodies could be an additional tool distinguishing primary versus metastatic carcinomas in the lung. False-positivity can be seen in breast carcinoma but is extremely rare (1%).Modern Pathology advance online publication, 19 April 2013; doi:10.1038/modpathol.2013.53.
    Modern Pathology 04/2013; · 5.25 Impact Factor
  • Histopathology 04/2013; · 2.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Microglandular adenosis is a rare glandular lesion of the breast, which can mimic well-differentiated invasive carcinoma, and is characterized by a haphazard proliferation of uniform small round glands with open lumina and lacking a myoepithelial cell layer. This lesion has a rather unique immunohistochemical profile characterized by expression of cytokeratins and S-100, and lack of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR). The role of microglandular adenosis as a potential precursor of invasive breast cancer has long been a matter of controversy; however, recent molecular analyses have demonstrated that these lesions are heterogeneous at the genetic level, and that at least a subset of microglandular adenosis are clonal and display gene copy number alterations. Importantly, the pattern of genetic aberrations found in microglandular adenosis differs from that of other non-obligate precursors of ER-positive breast cancer. Carcinomas arising in microglandular adenosis are mostly of triple-negative phenotype (i.e. lack of ER, PR and HER2) and express S100, similar to microglandular adenosis. Genetic alterations found in microglandular adenosis have been shown to be similar to those found in synchronous invasive carcinomas. Here we review the clinical, morphological, and molecular features of microglandular adenosis, with an emphasis on its role as a non-obligate precursor of triple-negative breast cancer, and discuss areas for future research endeavors to clarify the clinical and biological significance of these fascinating lesions.
    Histology and histopathology 04/2013; · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have suggested that breast cancer is part of the tumor spectrum in Lynch syndrome (LS). However, the frequency and significance of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency in breast carcinoma in general is unclear. Some triple-negative breast carcinomas (TNBCs) have morphologic features similar to those described in LS-associated colorectal carcinomas; therefore, we hypothesized that TNBCs might be more likely to have MMR deficiency. In this study, we tested our hypothesis in a series of 226 TNBCs along with a control series of 90 non-triple-negative tumors, utilizing DNA MMR protein immunohistochemistry followed by PCR microsatellite instability testing and MLH1 promoter methylation testing. By immunohistochemistry, we identified 4 triple-negative carcinomas (4/226, 1.8%) showing loss of MMR proteins (3 lost MLH1 and PMS2, and 1 lost MSH2 and MSH6); whereas none of the 90 non-triple-negative carcinomas showed loss of protein. Further testing of the 3 MLH1/PMS2 protein-deficient carcinomas identified 1 tumor showing high-frequency microsatellite instability and MLH1 promoter hypermethylation. All 4 MMR protein-deficient carcinomas were ductal type with high histologic and nuclear grades. Prominent lymphocytic infiltration was noted in 2 tumors. The clinical characteristics and survival outcome varied widely among the 4 patients. In conclusion, our results suggest that DNA MMR deficiency is rare in breast carcinoma, and as such, testing of breast carcinoma for the detection of LS may best be restricted to high-risk individuals only. Our data also suggest that not all MMR protein-deficient breast tumors show microsatellite instability, and MLH1 promoter methylation is the molecular basis for at least a subset of microsatellite instable breast tumors. Although MMR-deficient breast carcinomas share certain morphologic features with the more typical types of LS-associated tumors, better characterization, and a better understanding of their clinical behavior await further analysis with a larger sample size.
    The American journal of surgical pathology 09/2012; 36(11):1700-8. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BRCA1 germline mutation carriers usually develop ER, PR and HER2 negative breast carcinoma. Somatic BRCA1 mutations are rare in sporadic breast cancers, but other mechanisms could impair BRCA1 functions in these tumors, particularly in triple-negative breast carcinomas (TNBCs). Id4, a helix-loop-helix DNA binding factor, blocks BRCA1 gene transcription in vitro and could downregulate BRCA1 in vivo. We compared Id4 immunoreactivity in 101 TNBCs versus 113 non-TNBCs, and correlated the results with tumor morphology and immunoreactivity for CK5/6, CK14, EGFR, and androgen receptor (AR). Id4 was present in 76 out of 101 (75 %) TNBCs: 40 (40 %) TNBCs displayed Id4 positivity in >50 % of neoplastic cells, 23 (23 %) in 5-50 %, and 13 (13 %) in <5 %. In contrast, only 6 (5 %) of 113 non-TNBCs showed focal Id4 positivity, limited to fewer than 5 % of the tumor (p < 0.0001). Id4 expression significantly associated with high histologic grade (p = 0.0002) and mitotic rate (p = 0.006). Id4 decorated all 12 TNBCs with large central acellular zone of necrosis in our series, with positive staining in 10-90 % of the cells. Id4 signal strongly correlated with cytokeratin CK14 reactivity (p < 0.0001), but not with CK5/6 and EGFR. All apocrine carcinomas in our series were positive for AR and most for EGFR, but they were negative for CK5/6, CK14, and Id4, with only two exceptions. Our results document substantial expression of Id4 in most TNBCs, which could result in functional downregulation of BRCA1 pathways in these tumors.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 04/2012; 135(1):93-102. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The authors evaluated the clinical characteristics, natural history, and outcomes of patients who had ≤1 cm, lymph node-negative, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). After excluding patients who had received neoadjuvant therapy, 1022 patients with TNBC who underwent definitive breast surgery during 1999 to 2006 were identified from an institutional database. In total, 194 who had lymph node-negative tumors that measured ≤1 cm comprised the study population. Clinical data were abstracted, and survival outcomes were analyzed. The median follow-up was 73 months (range, 5-143 months). The median age at diagnosis was 55.5 years (range, 27-84 years). Tumor (T) classification was microscopic (T1mic) in 16 patients (8.2%), T1a in 49 patients (25.3%), and T1b in 129 patients (66.5%). Most tumors were poorly differentiated (n = 142; 73%), lacked lymphovascular invasion (n = 170; 87.6%), and were detected by screening (n = 134; 69%). In total, 129 patients (66.5%) underwent breast-conserving surgery, and 65 patients (33.5%) underwent mastectomy. One hundred thirteen patients (58%) received adjuvant chemotherapy, and 123 patients (63%) received whole-breast radiation. The patients who received chemotherapy had more adverse clinical and disease features (younger age, T1b tumor, poor tumor grade; all P < .05). Results from testing for the breast cancer (BRCA) susceptibility gene were available for 49 women: 19 women had BRCA1 mutations, 7 women had BRCA2 mutations, and 23 women had no mutations. For the entire group, the 5-year local recurrence-free survival rate was 95%, and the 5-year distant metastasis-free survival rate was 95%. There was no difference between patients with T1mic/T1a tumors and patients with T1b tumors in the distant recurrence rate (94.5% vs 95.5%, respectively; P = .81) or in the receipt of chemotherapy (95.9% vs 94.5%, respectively; P = .63). Excellent 5-year locoregional and distant control rates were achievable in patients with TNBC who had tumors ≤1.0 cm, 58% of whom received chemotherapy. These results identified a group of patients with TNBC who had favorable outcomes after early detection and multimodality treatment. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 03/2012; 118(20):4944-52. · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The increasingly widespread use of immunohistochemistry in the detection of DNA mismatch repair proteins has led to the observation of various unusual tumor types that occur in Lynch syndrome and exhibit mismatch repair protein deficiency. Understanding the clinical significance of such unusual tumors has become increasingly desirable. Here, we report a case of 2 synchronous breast cancers occurring in a 74-year-old woman who carried a deleterious germline mutation in MSH2 and who survived an endometrial and a colonic carcinoma. Both breast cancers were of lobular type with similar expression patterns for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and Her2/neu. However, the 2 cancers differed in other characteristics. One tumor showed a solid alveolar histologic pattern with prominent tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and loss of MSH2 and MSH6 protein on immunohistochemical staining. In contrast, the other tumor was of classic type with no apparent lymphocytic infiltration and no loss of mismatch repair protein. Such a case carries practical implications as it suggests that certain breast cancers may serve as tissue samples for the detection of mismatch repair deficiency in families at high risk for Lynch syndrome, thus expanding the test sample repertoire for genetic workup in these families. Furthermore, the case exemplifies the complexity of tumorigenesis in Lynch syndrome patients. The observation that, of the 2 breast cancers, increased tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes were present only in the tumor that showed mismatch repair protein abnormality is in keeping with what has been observed in the colon and other sites. Such persistent genotype-phenotype correlation across different organs affords the promise that molecular classification may allow identification of biologically distinct tumor subsets beyond the confines of the tumor's primary anatomic location.
    The American journal of surgical pathology 11/2011; 35(11):1743-8. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. The purpose of this study was to compare the surgical and pathological variables which impact rate of re-excision following breast conserving therapy (BCS) with or without concurrent additional margin excision (AM). Methods. The pathology database was queried for all patients with DCIS from January 2004 to September 2008. Pathologic assessment included volume of excision, subtype, size, distance from margin, grade, necrosis, multifocality, calcifications, and ER/PR status. Results. 405 cases were identified and 201 underwent BCS, 151-BCS-AM, and 53-mastectomy. Among the 201 BCS patients, 190 underwent re-excision for close or involved margins. 129 of these were treated with BCS and 61 with BCS-AM (P < .0001). The incidence of residual DCIS in the re-excision specimens was 32% (n = 65) for BCS and 22% (n = 33) for BCS-AM (P < .05). For both the BCS and the BCS-AM cohorts, volume of tissue excised is inversely correlated to the rate of re-excision (P = .0284). Multifocality (P = .0002) and ER status (P = .0382) were also significant predictors for rate of re-excision and variation in surgical technique was insignificant. Conclusions. The rate of positive margins, re-excision, and residual disease was significantly higher in patients with lower volume of excision. The performance of concurrent additional margin excision increases the efficacy of BCS for DCIS.
    International journal of surgical oncology. 01/2011; 2011:785803.