JOURNAL ARTICLE

Topoisomerase II alpha gene copy loss has adverse prognostic significance in ERBB2-amplified breast cancer: a retrospective study of paraffin-embedded tumor specimens and medical charts

Lydia Usha, Bita Tabesh, Larry E Morrison, Ruta D Rao, Kris Jacobson, April Zhu, Sanjib Basu, John S Coon
Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2008, 1: 12
18702822

BACKGROUND: Amplification of the ERBB2 (Her-2/neu) oncogene, which occurs in approximately 25% of breast carcinomas, is a known negative prognostic factor. Available data indicate that a variable number of nearby genes on chromosome 17q may be co-amplified or deleted, forming a continuous amplicon of variable size. In approximately 25% of these patients, the amplicon extends to the gene for topoisomerase II alpha (TOP2A), a target for anthracyclines. We sought to understand the significance of these associated genomic changes for breast cancer prognosis and predicting response to therapy.

METHODS AND PATIENTS: Archival tissue samples from 63 breast cancer patients with ERBB2 amplification, stages 0-IV, were previously analyzed with FISH probes for genes located near ERBB2. In the present study, the clinical outcome data were determined for all patients presenting at stages I-III for whom adequate clinical follow up was available.

RESULTS: Four amplicon patterns (Classes) were identified. These were significantly associated with the clinical outcome, specifically, recurrence of breast cancer. The Amplicon class IV with deleted TOP2A had 67% (6/9) cases with recurrence, whereas the other three classes combined had only 12% (3/25) cases (p-value = 0.004) at the time of last follow-up. TOP2A deletion was also significantly associated with time to recurrence (p-value = 0.0002). After adjusting for age in Cox regression analysis, the association between TOP2A deletion and time to recurrence remains strongly significant (p-value = 0.002) whereas the association with survival is marginally significant (p-value = 0.06).

CONCLUSION: TOP2A deletion is associated with poor prognosis in ERBB2-amplified breast carcinomas. Clarification of the mechanism of this association will require additional study.

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