The value of TOP2A gene copy number variation as a biomarker in breast cancer: Update of DBCG trial 89D

Kirsten Vang Nielsen, Bent Ejlertsen, Susanne Møller, Jan Trøst Jørgensen, Ann Knoop, Helle Knudsen, Henning T Mouridsen
Acta Oncologica 2008, 47 (4): 725-34

BACKGROUND: Previous analyses of TOP2A and HER2 in the Danish Breast Cancer Coopererative Group (DBCG) trial 89D suggested that TOP2A amplifications and possible also deletions are predictive markers for the effect of adjuvant epirubicin in patients with primary breast cancer. We present an updated and extended statistical analysis, requested for IVD-labeling of TOP2A testing.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In the DBCG trial 89D 980 Danish patients were randomly assigned to nine cycles of intravenous CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil) or CEF (cyclophosphamide, epirubicin, and fluorouracil). Archival tumor tissue was collected retrospectively from 806 of these patients in a prospectively designed, biological sub-study, and was successfully analyzed for TOP2A aberrations and HER2 status in 773 samples (96%). Recurrence-free survival (RFS) was the primary endpoint.

RESULTS: TOP2A aberrations (amplifications and deletions) were significantly associated with shorter RFS (p<0.0001) and overall survival (OS) (p<0.0001). Deleted cases had worse prognosis than amplified cases. In a Cox proportional hazard model TOP2A was an independent prognostic marker for RFS and OS. Patients with amplifications had a 61% reduction in the risk of an event (p=0.002) and a 51% reduction in the risk of death (p=0.01) if allocated to CEF compared to 6% and 10% in TOP2A normal patients. A similar but non-significant trend (p=0.08) was shown in patients with TOP2A deletions. Clear statistical evidence of a differential benefit, favoring CEF among patients with TOP2A aberrations was found for RFS (p=0.02 for interaction) but not for OS (p=0.14 for interaction).

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, this updated analysis of TOP2A aberrations in DBCG trial 89D suggests a differential benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with primary breast cancer, favoring treatment with epirubicin in patients with TOP2A amplifications, and perhaps deletions. Additional studies are needed to clarify the exact importance of TOP2A deletions on outcome, but deletions have proven to be associated with a very poor prognosis.

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