[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fourth edition of the European guidelines for quality assurance in breast cancer screening and diagnosis was published by the European Commission in 2006. The present supplements to the fourth edition have been produced by the same groups of experts originally established under the Europe Against Cancer programme that have developed and updated the guidelines since the early 1990s. Over the years, the scope and the depth of the multidisciplinary guidelines have expanded, and recommendations and protocols have been updated to keep pace with developments in the field. The present supplements lay a cornerstone for a new, completely revised fifth edition of the guidelines
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to highlight the recent changes in the surgical approach of the axilla in breast cancer patients. Axillary staging is dominated by the sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy, which is now widely practiced in clinically node negative patients. Most authors believe a SLN biopsy may even be performed in patients with a large or multifocal tumour, before neo-adjuvant systemic therapy, during pregnancy, after prior excisional biopsy and after prior mantle field radiotherapy of the breast. Intra-operative assessment of the SLN is recommended as it can identify half of all positive lymph nodes. It is generally accepted that it is safe to omit an axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in patients with a negative SLN or with only isolated tumour cells (
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate whether the estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) can improve the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI) in the classification of patients with primary operable breast cancer for disease-free survival (DFS).
The analysis is based on 1,927 patients with breast cancer treated between 2000 and 2005 at the University Hospitals, Leuven. We compared performances of NPI with and without ER, PR and/or HER2. Validation was done on two external data sets containing 862 and 2,805 patients from Oslo (Norway) and Auckland (New Zealand), respectively.
In the Leuven cohort, median follow-up was 66 months, and 13.7% of patients experienced a breast cancer-related event. Positive staining for ER, PR, and HER2 was detected, respectively, in 86.9%, 75.5%, and 11.9% of patients. Based on multivariate Cox regression modeling, the improved NPI (iNPI) was derived as NPI - PR positivity + HER2 positivity. Validation results showed a risk group reclassification of 20% to 30% of patients when using iNPI with its optimal risk boundaries versus NPI, in a majority of patients to more appropriate risk groups. An additional 10% of patients were classified into the extreme risk groups, where clinical actions are less ambiguous. Survival curves of reclassified patients resembled more closely those for patients in the same iNPI group than those for patients in the same NPI group.
The addition of PR and HER2 to NPI increases its 5-year prognostic accuracy. The iNPI can be considered as a clinically useful tool for stratification of patients with breast cancer receiving standard of care.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ménétrier's disease is a gastric giant folds disease syndrome including gastric protein loss resulting in a clinical picture of protein-losing enteropathy and decreased gastric acid production. Pathologically foveolar hyperplasia, distortion and glandular atrophy is observed. Not all elements of the syndrome may be present at the same time. A Helicobacter pylori co-infection has been found in many patients, leading to the view that Ménétrier's disease is a variant of a Helicobacter pylori infection thus acquiring a premalignant character. However, hypertrophic gastropathies may mimic the clinical picture of Ménétrier's disease. Moreover, in the historically first reported cases only a scarce inflammatory infiltrate was observed pathologically in the lamina propria, but no real gastritis. Thus, it would be more appropiate to differentiate Ménétrier's syndrome - which can have different causes - from idiopathic Ménétrier's disease. Several theoretical concepts support the idea that idiopathic Ménétrier's disease is a precursor of gastric cancer. A case of familial Ménétrier's disease is reported here, one family member being diagnosed with both an adenocarcinoma of the stomach and a Helicobacter pylori co-infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Basal-like breast tumours, as defined by microarrays, carry a poor prognosis and therapeutic options are limited to date. Often, these tumours are defined as oestrogen receptor (ER) negative/progesterone receptor (PR) negative/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) negative (triple negative) by immunohistochemistry (IHC), but a more complete definition should include expression of basal cytokeratins (CK5/6, CK14 or CK17) and/or human epidermal growth factor receptor 1 (HER-1). The aim of this study was to investigate to what extent CK5/6 and HER-1 characterise the group of triple negative breast cancers.
Expression of CK5/6 and HER-1 was studied by IHC in 25 triple negative breast carcinomas and 32 grade-matched, non-triple-negative controls. All 57 cases were further subjected to fluorescence in situ hybridisation to investigate HER-1 gene copy number.
CK5/6 and HER-1 expression was most frequent in triple negative tumours: 22 out of 25 cases (88.0%) expressed at least one of these markers (60.0% CK5/6 positive and 52.0% HER-1 positive). In the control group, CK5/6 and HER-1 expression was found in ER-negative but not in ER-positive tumours (ER negative/PR negative/HER-2 positive tumours: 20.0% CK5/6 positive and 46.7% HER-1 positive). HER-1 gene amplification was found in five cases only: four triple negative (16.0%) and one ER-negative control (ER negative/PR negative/HER-2 positive, 6.7%). Of interest, all five HER-1 amplified cases showed a remarkably homogeneous HER-1 expression pattern.
Expression of CK5/6 and HER-1 is frequent in ER-negative breast cancers, in triple negative and in non-triple negative tumours. In a minority of cases, HER-1 overexpression may be caused by HER-1 gene amplification. Further studies are needed to investigate whether such cases might benefit from anti-HER-1 therapy.
No preview · Article · Aug 2009 · Journal of clinical pathology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prognostic subgroup classification of operable breast cancers using cDNA clustering of breast cancer-related genes resembles the classification based on the combined immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of the hormone and HER-2 receptors. We here report the short-term disease-free interval (DFI) of operable breast cancers by their joint hormone receptor/HER-2 phenotype.
Short-term follow-up (FU) of a prospective cohort of 1,958 breast-cancer patients primary operated at our institution between 2000 and 2005. Receptors were evaluated using IHC. Steroid receptors were considered positive for any nuclear staining; HER-2 for strong (3+) membrane staining or positive fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Kaplan-Meier (KM) DFI curves were calculated for any relapse defined as a local, regional, contralateral, or distant breast cancer event for the six predefined breast cancer subgroups: ER + PR + HER-2 - (PPN), ER + PR - HER-2 - (PNN), ER + PR + HER-2 + (PPP), ER - PR - HER-2 - (NNN), ER - PR - HER-2 + (NNP), and ER + PR - HER-2 + (PNP). P-values were calculated for comparison of the six different survival curves using two possible adaptations for multiple testing. A multivariate model for the receptors predicting DFI did incorporate local and systemic adjuvant therapy.
Median patient age was 57 years (ranges 26-96) and median FU was 3.35 years. Overall, DFI at median FU was 91%; 94% for PPN, 89% for PNN, 86% for NNN, 81% for PPP, 80% for PNP, and 76% for NNP cases. Some receptor subgroups had a significantly better DFI than others based on multiple testing, especially when the PPN group was compared against the four most frequent subtypes. The multivariate model with local and systemic adjuvant therapy confirmed the prognostic value of ER, PR, and HER-2 for short-term DFI.
It is possible to distinguish short-term prognostic breast cancer subgroups only on the basis of ER, PR, and HER-2 even when stratified for local and systemic adjuvant therapy. While gene expression profiles based on microarray data of over hundreds of genes will probably teach us much about breast cancer biology, heterogeneity, and prognosis, we emphasize the important short-term prognostic value of currently used IHC markers for ER, PR, and HER-2.
Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In medical care cervical cancer screening is important because it enables the detection of precancer and cancer at an early stage. By adequate treatment after a screening-detected lesion it helps to reduce the mortality related to cervical cancer. Worldwide, many millions of women have smears taken at a more or less regular base and of these, approximately 7% are abnormal, and follow-up is thus required.As this represents an important cost in medical health care and has serious consequences for the affected women, it is important to have uniform and clear guidelines to allow an optimal follow-up and clinical management. A system for the uniform reporting of cervical cytology has been designed by the National Cancer Institute (U.S.A.) and resulted in the Bethesda System 1991. The present paper and the terminology used are based on the Bethesda System revised in 2001. It explains the guidelines, based on the 2001 Bethesda System and the 2004 consensus guidelines for the management of women with cervical cytological abnormalities, as developed by the members of the Board of the Belgian Society of Clinical Cytology, and adapted to the Belgian situation.
No preview · Article · Mar 2009 · Acta clinica Belgica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polysomy 17 is frequently found in breast cancer and may complicate the interpretation of HER-2 testing results. We investigated the impact of polysomy 17 on HER-2 testing and studied its clinicopathologic significance in relation to HER2 gene amplification.
In 226 patients with primary invasive breast carcinoma, HER2 gene and chromosome 17 copy numbers were determined by dual-color fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The interpretation of FISH results was based on either absolute HER2 gene copy number or the ratio HER2/chromosome 17. Results were correlated with HER-2 protein expression on immunohistochemistry (IHC), HER2 mRNA expression by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and with various clinicopathologic parameters.
All cases with an equivocal HER-2 result by FISH, either by absolute HER2 copy number (44 of 226 patients; 19.5%) or by the ratio HER2/chromosome 17 (three of 226 patients; 1.3%), displayed polysomy 17. On its own, polysomy 17 was not associated with HER-2 overexpression on IHC or increased HER2 mRNA levels by RT-PCR. Moreover, and in contrast with HER2 gene amplification, polysomy 17 was not associated with high tumor grade, hormone receptor negativity, or reduced disease-free survival.
Polysomy 17 affects HER-2 testing in breast cancer and is a major cause of equivocal results by FISH. We show that tumors displaying polysomy 17 in the absence of HER2 gene amplification resemble more HER-2-negative than HER-2-positive tumors. These findings highlight the need for clinical trials to investigative whether polysomy 17 tumors benefit from HER-2-targeted therapy.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · Journal of Clinical Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PLAG1 proto-oncogene overexpression has been causally linked to multiple tumors, highlighting its broad tumorigenic relevance. Here, the oncogenic potential of PLAG1 in mammary gland tumorigenesis was investigated in PLAG1 transgenic mice. To target mammary glands, mice of 2 independent PLAG1 transgenic strains, PTMS1 and PTMS2, in which PLAG1 expression can be modulated by Cre-mediation, were crossed with MMTV-Cre transgenic mice, resulting in P1-MCre and P2-MCre offspring, respectively. Hundred percentage of P1-MCre female mice showed mammary gland hyperplasia, caused by adenomyoepithelial adenosis, at 8 weeks. The tumorigenic process could not be studied further in P1-MCre mice, because concomitant fast-growing salivary gland tumors required euthanasia. Sixteen percentage of P2-MCre females developed mammary gland adenomyoepitheliomas within 30-45 weeks, and none displayed concomitant salivary gland tumors. To further study mammary gland tumorigenesis in PTMS1-derived mice, intercrossing with WAP-Cre transgenic mice, resulting in P1-WAPCre mice, was performed to target PLAG1 expression more specifically to mammary glands. Eighty percentage of such mice developed adenomyoepitheliomas within 53-88 weeks. All PLAG1-induced adenomyoepitheliomas revealed expression upregulation of Igf2/H19, Dlk1/Gtl2, Igfbps and Wnt signaling genes (Wnt6, Cyclin D1). Collectively, these results establish the oncogenic potential of PLAG1 in mammary glands of mice and point towards contributing roles of Igf and Wnt signaling.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the BRCA1-interacting DEAH helicase Brip1 confer an increased risk of breast cancer. In the present study we aimed to unravel the transcriptional control of Brip1 and to determine its expression levels in a set of 101 primary invasive breast carcinomas. Transcription of Brip1 was found to be cell growth-related and controlled by the E2F/retinoblastoma (Rb) pathway through a conserved E2F-responsive site. Repression of Brip1 expression by the cell growth-inhibiting compound 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 depended on this same E2F-responsive site. In spite of its role as a tumor suppressor, both quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR analyses and immunohistochemical stainings showed significantly elevated Brip1 expression levels in grade 3 tumors as compared to grade 1 or 2 carcinomas. Furthermore, increased Brip1 transcript levels were found in tumors with an estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative or HER-2-positive status. In conclusion, these data show that Brip1 is a genuine target gene for the E2F/Rb pathway and that elevated expression levels of Brip1 are detected in primary invasive breast carcinomas with unfavorable characteristics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The negative association between the oestrogen receptor (ER) and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) in breast cancer travels in both directions. ER+ tumours are less likely HER-2+ and HER-2+ tumours are less likely ER+.
We studied the age-related immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of ER, progesterone receptor (PR) and HER-2 in 2,227 tumours using age as a continuous variable. Steroid receptors were considered positive for any nuclear staining of invasive cancer cells and for HER-2, either for strong expression by IHC (score 3+) or gene amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH). Based on nonparametric regression, the age-related association between steroid receptors and HER-2 was presented as likelihood curves.
The association between ER or PR and HER-2 is age-related. The age-related expression of ER and PR is HER-2 dependent. In HER-2(-) cases, the odds ratio (OR) for being ER+ was 2.594 (95% CI = 1.874-3.591) up to age 50 and age-independent thereafter; for PR-expression the OR was 2.687 (95% CI = 1.780-4.057) up to age 45 and 0.847 (95% CI = 0.761-0.942) thereafter. In HER-2+ cases, the OR was 0.806 (95% CI = 0.656-0.991) to be ER+ and 0.722 (95% CI = 0.589-0.886) to be PR+. The age-related OR for breast cancers to be HER-2+ is steroid receptor dependent. Taking together, ER+PR+HER-2+ breast cancers appear on average 5.4 years earlier than breast cancers of any other ER/PR/HER-2 phenotype (95% CI = 3.3-7.5; P < 0.0001).
There is a qualitative interaction between age and expression of steroid and HER-2 receptors. Our findings suggest a strong age-related selective growth advantage for breast tumour cells belonging to the ER+PR+HER-2+ subgroup.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2008 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To report a case of a patient who developed an acute and transient, tender, and bilateral swelling of the thyroid that occurred during fine-needle aspiration (FNA) of a solitary nodule in the left thyroid lobe; to add accurate ultrasound measurements to support our clinical observation; and to analyze a possible underlying mechanism of this rare condition. RESULTS AND CLINICAL FOLLOW-UP: The calculated thyroid volume increased from 23 to 57 mL before and at 4 minutes, respectively, after the needle aspiration, but the thyroid volume returned to prediagnostic level after 4 hours. Cytology, serum calcitonin, and histology were concordant, and the nodule was diagnosed as a medullary thyroid carcinoma. Immunohistochemistry was positive for calcitonin, chromogranin, and the very potent vasodilator calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). CONCLUSION: This is a rare case of acute and transient thyroid swelling during a common procedure as FNA of a thyroid nodule. This is the first case with documented acute volume expansion quantified by ultrasound measurements supporting our clinical observation, which is in accordance with two historical case reports. The clinical and ultrasound data support the hypothesis of vasodilation as the underlying mechanism, possibly evoked by the release of the vasodilator CGRP.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the indications, techniques and pathologic findings of prophylactic mastectomy (pME).
Retrospective study of patients with a strong family history of breast cancer (and ovarian cancer) or with proven BRCA mutation.
Between January 1995 and December 2005, sixty seven patients underwent pME: 15% had a BRCA1 mutation, 31% had a BRCA2 mutation and 33% had a strong family history but without proven BRCA mutation and in 21% mutation analysis was not performed. Fifty eight percent had a personal history of breast cancer of which 84% previously underwent a unilateral mastectomy as part of their treatment. The median time to decision from previous treatment for breast carcinoma to pME was 46 months. Mean age at pME was 43 years. Pathologic examination of the pME specimens revealed invasive and/or in situ carcinoma in 19% (13/67). Atypical ductal/lobular hyperplasia (ADH/ALH) or flat epithelial atypia (FEA) were present in another 3%.
Twenty two percent of women at high risk for breast cancer presented at the time of pME with invasive carcinoma or intra-epithelial neoplasia undetected by imaging and clinical examination.
Preview · Article · Feb 2008 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine the frequency of axillary lymph node (ALN) invasion of operable breast cancers by their combined oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and HER-2 status.
2227 recently operated cases in one centre were retrieved from the Multidisciplinary Breast Centre database and stratified according to their combined immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of ER/PR/HER-2 status. An equivocal HER-2 status was further analysed by Fluorescence in situ Hybridisation (FISH). The following 6 groups were considered: ER(-)PR(-)HER-2(-) (NNN; triple negative), ER(-)PR(-)HER-2(+) (NNP), ER(+)PR(-)HER-2(-) (PNN), ER(+)PR(-)HER-2(+) (PNP), ER(+)PR(+)HER-2(- )(PPN), ER(+)PR(+)HER-2(+) (PPP; triple positive). For ALN, the following variables were tested in uni- and multivariate models: age at diagnosis (years), tumour size (mm), tumour grade, ER, PR, HER-2 and the combined steroid receptor and HER-2 status. Likelihood ratio chi(2)-tests were used for univariate analysis and logistic regression for multivariate analysis.
Triple positive tumours had a higher likelihood of being ALN positive than others (56.2% versus 35.7%; P<0.0001). Univariate logistic regression also withheld age, size, grade and HER-2 as predictors of ALN involvement. Final multivariate logistic regression revealed age, size, grade and PPP versus non-PPP to be independent predictors of ALN involvement; the odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI for PPP versus non-PPP tumours was 2.169 (1.490-3.156).
Our data provide insight into the natural history of triple positive breast carcinomas. Such tumours are more likely ALN positive than those with another steroid receptor and HER-2 status. How these findings correlate with breast cancer prognosis remains to be investigated.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We discuss recent findings on the genotypic alterations associated with HER2-positive breast cancer in an attempt to clarify the clinical heterogeneity observed among these tumors.
Molecular genetic analysis supports the distinctive nature of HER2-positive breast cancer, which is primarily driven by HER2 gene amplification. Depending on the amplicon size, a variety of genes can be coamplified and overexpressed together with HER2, some of which may contribute to tumorigenesis; the amplicon size may even predict response to trastuzumab therapy. HER2 gene amplification may further destabilize the tumor genome, facilitating the generation of additional genomic aberrations including aneuploidy. The latter might imply polysomy 17, a phenomenon that should be discriminated from true HER2 gene amplification: polysomy 17 in the absence of HER2 gene amplification is not associated with HER2 overexpression nor with the clinical characteristics of HER2-positive breast cancer.
HER2 gene amplification is a complex event: it includes coamplification of other, potentially oncogenic genes and facilitates the generation of additional genomic aberrations. Further studies on these genotypic findings will be helpful to better identify the patients that might benefit from trastuzumab therapy.
No preview · Article · Dec 2007 · Current Opinion in Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The emphasis of the EFCS Congress held in Venice in October 2006 was on the future of Cytopathology in relation to events in Europe. Much of the discussion centred on the role of human papilloma virus testing and its impact on the provision of cervical screening. The following is a transcript of the discussion that took place at the Advisory Board Meeting for the journal Cytopathology, with some additional written comments received prior to the meeting. A brief summary has been provided as a conclusion by Dr A. Herbert.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two recently developed clinical prediction rules aim to anticipate the lack of nonsentinel lymph node metastases and the involvement of less than 4 lymph nodes in breast cancer patients with positive sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs).
The University of Louisville Breast SLN Study clinical prediction rules were validated on an independent set of SLN-positive patients with tumors < or = 15 mm.
The data on 475 and 473 patients, respectively, were used for the validation. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves were similar to the originals for both predictive tools (.70 and .76). The lowest score of 1 identified 5 of 7 patients with disease limited to the SLNs and 161 of 165 as having less than 4 involved lymph nodes.
A subset of patients with SLN-only involvement and less than 4 metastatic lymph nodes can probably be identified by means of the Louisville clinical prediction rules, but prediction of the lack of non-SLN metastasis seems less reliable.
No preview · Article · Sep 2007 · American journal of surgery
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously showed that checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) and Claspin, two DNA-damage checkpoint proteins, were down-regulated by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3), a known inhibitor of cell proliferation. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the transcriptional regulation of Chk1 and Claspin and to study their expression levels in human breast cancer tissue. Transient transfection experiments in MCF-7 breast cancer cells showed that promoter activities of Chk1 and Claspin were regulated by the E2F family of transcription factors. Subsequently, transcript levels of Chk1, Claspin, and E2F1 were determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR analysis in 103 primary invasive breast carcinomas and were compared with several clinicopathologic variables in breast cancer. A strong correlation was found between Chk1 and Claspin transcript levels. Transcript levels of Chk1, Claspin, and E2F1 were highest in histologic grade 3 tumors and in tumors in which the expression of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) was lost. Moreover, Chk1 expression was significantly elevated in grade 3 breast carcinomas showing a triple-negative ER-/PR-/HER-2- phenotype compared with other grade 3 tumors. Further research is warranted to validate the use of Chk1 inhibitors in triple-negative breast carcinomas for which treatment strategies are limited at present.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aimed at identifying factors related to sentinel lymph node (SLN) involvement in patients with tubular, cribriform, mucinous or papillary breast carcinoma and those related to non-SLN metastases if an SLN was positive. Multivariate analyses involved logistic and stepwise regressions. The SLNs harboured metastases in 85 of 572 cases, 78 of whom underwent axillary dissection; 19 presented non-SLN positive disease. Lack of lymphovascular invasion, a tumour size < or = 10 mm and a single SLN removed were the factors predicting an SLN metastasis rate <10%, and patients with these features could be candidates for no surgical axillary staging. A positive SLN proportion of < or = 50% and no lymphovascular invasion were associated with a <10% rate of non-SLN invasion; patients with a positive SLN and these features could be candidates for the omission of completion axillary dissection. The opposite presentation of these factors would mandate SLN biopsy and axillary dissection, respectively.
No preview · Article · Jul 2007 · European Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: According to EUSOMA position paper ‘The requirements of a specialist breast unit’, each breast unit should have a core team made up of health professionals who have undergone specialist training in breast cancer. In this paper, on behalf of EUSOMA, authors have identified the standards of training in breast cancer, to harmonise and foster breast care training in Europe. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the increase in the level of care in a breast unit, as the input of qualified health professionals increases the quality of breast cancer patient care.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2007 · European Journal of Cancer