Rimawi MF, Shetty PB, Weiss HL, Schiff R, Osborne CK, Chamness GC et al.. Epidermal growth factor receptor expression in breast cancer association with biologic phenotype and clinical outcomes. Cancer 116: 1234-1242

Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
Cancer (Impact Factor: 4.89). 03/2010; 116(5):1234-42. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.24816
Source: PubMed


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression is associated with aggressive phenotypes in preclinical breast cancer models, but in clinical studies, EGFR has been inconsistently linked to poor outcome. We hypothesized that EGFR expression in human breast tumors, when centrally and uniformly assessed, is associated with an aggressive phenotype and resistance to systemic therapy.
In a database of 47,286 patients with breast cancer, EGFR status was known on 2567 tumors. EGFR levels were measured centrally by ligand binding assay, and tumors with > or =10 fmol/mg were prospectively deemed positive. Clinical and biological features of EGFR-positive and EGFR-negative tumors were compared. Clinical outcomes were assessed by systemic therapy status.
Of 2567 tumors, 475 (18%) were EGFR positive. EGFR-positive tumors were more common in younger and in black women, were larger, had a higher S-phase fraction, and were more likely to be aneuploid. EGFR-positive tumors were more likely to be HER2-positive (26% vs 16%, P < .0001), but less likely to be estrogen receptor-positive (60% vs 88%, P < .0001) or progesterone receptor-positive (26% vs 65%, P < .0001). In multivariate analyses, EGFR expression independently correlated with worse disease-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-2.41, P = .007) and overall survival (HR = 1.98, 95% CI, 1.36-2.88, P = .0004) in treated patients, but not in untreated patients.
EGFR expression is more common in breast tumors in younger and black women. It is associated with lower hormone receptor levels, higher proliferation, genomic instability, and HER2 overexpression. It is correlated with higher risk of relapse in patients receiving adjuvant treatment. Blocking EGFR may improve outcome in selected patients.

Download full-text


Available from: Mothaffar F Rimawi
  • Source
    • "Evidence suggests that overexpression and co-expression of EGFR, HER2 and HER3, members of the EGFR receptor family, are associated with resistance to anti-cancer treatments and unfavorable clinical prognosis in breast cancer [1-3]. Therefore, small molecule inhibitors selective for the tyrosine kinases of the EGFR receptor family are of clinical interest [1,2,4,5]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Gefitinib (Iressa(®), ZD1839) is a small molecule inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase. We report on an early cellular response to gefitinib that involves induction of functional autophagic flux in phenotypically diverse breast cancer cells that were sensitive (BT474 and SKBR3) or insensitive (MCF7-GFPLC3 and JIMT-1) to gefitinib. Our data show that elevation of autophagy in gefitinib-treated breast cancer cells correlated with downregulation of AKT and ERK1/2 signaling early in the course of treatment. Inhibition of autophagosome formation by BECLIN-1 or ATG7 siRNA in combination with gefitinib reduced the abundance of autophagic organelles and sensitized SKBR3 but not MCF7-GFPLC3 cells to cell death. However, inhibition of the late stage of gefitinib-induced autophagy with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) or bafilomycin A1 significantly increased (p<0.05) cell death in gefitinib-sensitive SKBR3 and BT474 cells, as well as in gefitinib-insensitive JIMT-1 and MCF7-GFPLC3 cells, relative to the effects observed with the respective single agents. Treatment with the combination of gefitinib and HCQ was more effective (p<0.05) in delaying tumor growth than either monotherapy (p>0.05), when compared to vehicle-treated controls. Our results also show that elevated autophagosome content following short-term treatment with gefitinib is a reversible response that ceases upon removal of the drug. In aggregate, these data demonstrate that elevated autophagic flux is an early response to gefitinib and that targeting EGFR and autophagy should be considered when developing new therapeutic strategies for EGFR expressing breast cancers.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS ONE
  • Source
    • "The amplification of the Her2/ neu oncogene with c-erbB2 overexpression in a subset of breast cancer patients is an example of this [2] [3] [4]. Breast cancers also overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor (erbB1), and the presence of this growth factor receptor has been linked to a higher proliferative potential and a worsened prognosis and resistance to hormonal therapy [5]. Despite this, monotherapy inhibiting the EGF (epidermal growth factor—erbB1) receptor with erlotinib or gefitinib in unselected breast cancer patients has been disappointing , without clinical efficacy [6] [7]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In patients with metastatic breast cancer, taxane treatment demonstrates activity but is not curative. Targeted treatment modalities are therefore necessary in order to improve outcomes in this group. A randomized placebo-controlled phase II trial was initiated to evaluate effect and toxicity of gefitinib (250 mg QD) and docetaxel 35 mg/m(2) (six of seven weeks) (NCT 00319618). The inclusion of 66 patients was planned. The study was closed due to treatment-related toxicity. Of the 18 included patients, seven (of which three received gefitinib) were withdrawn from the study due to toxicity. Of the nine patients receiving gefitinib and chemotherapy, one achieved a partial response and four stable disease. In the chemotherapy of nine patients, four had a partial response and four stable disease. The breast cancer patients in this study were genotyped using a panel of 14 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), previously found associated with docetaxel clearance in a cohort of lung cancer patients. We were unable to identify genes related to toxicity in this study. Nevertheless, toxicity was aggravated by the addition of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor. In conclusion, despite adequately tolerated as monotherapy, combination regimens should be carefully considered for overlapping adverse events in order to avoid increased treatment-related toxicity.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012
  • Source
    • "Among the whole set of biomarkers evaluated in CTCs, only EFGR+ CTCs were more frequent in luminal tumors compared with triple-negative and HER2-amplified tumors. It could be speculated that the association between EGFR+ CTCs and luminal BC patients is explained, in part, by an increase of cancer cells expressing EGFR involved in the paracrine loop in which epidermal growth factor produced by tumor-associated macrophages increases the invasiveness and migration of BC cells that express EGFR [7,8], although EGFR expression has been widely related to lower HR levels, higher proliferation, genomic instability, and HER2 overexpression [42]. Although this association needs to be further characterized, luminal tumors might be more dependent than other BC subtypes on this mechanism that promotes cell migration and intravasation. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence supports the view that the detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) predicts outcomes of nonmetastatic breast cancer patients. CTCs differ genetically from the primary tumor and may contribute to variations in prognosis and response to therapy. As we start to understand more about the biology of CTCs, we can begin to address how best to treat this form of disease. Ninety-eight nonmetastatic breast cancer patients were included in this study. CTCs were isolated by immunomagnetic techniques using magnetic beads labelled with a multi-CK-specific antibody (CK3-11D5) and CTC detection through immunocytochemical methods. Estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) were evaluated by immunofluorescence experiments and HER2 and TOP2A by fluorescence in situ hybridization. We aimed to characterize this set of biomarkers in CTCs and correlate it with clinical-pathological characteristics. Baseline detection rate was 46.9% ≥ 1 CTC/30 ml threshold. CTC-positive cells were more frequent in HER2-negative tumors (p = 0.046). In patients younger than 50 years old, HER2-amplified and G1-G2 tumors had a higher possibility of being nondetectable CTCs. Heterogeneous expression of hormonal receptors (HRs) in samples from the same patients was found. Discordances between HR expression, HER2 and TOP2A status in CTCs and their primary tumor were found in the sequential blood samples. Less that 35% of patients switched their CTC status after receiving chemotherapy. EGFR-positive CTCs were associated with Luminal tumors (p = 0.03). This is the largest exploratory CTC biomarker analysis in nonmetastatic BC patients. Our study suggests that CTC biomarkers profiles might be useful as a surrogate marker for therapeutic selection and monitoring since heterogeneity of the biomarker distribution in CTCs and the lack of correlation with the primary tumor biomarker status were found. Further exploration of the association between EGFR-positive CTCs and Luminal tumors is warranted.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Breast cancer research: BCR
Show more