Circulating tumor cells in immunohistochemical subtypes of metastatic breast cancer: Lack of prediction in HER2-positive disease treated with targeted therapy

A. Giordano*, M. Giuliano, M. De laurentiis, G. Arpino, S. Jackson, B. C. Handy, N. T. Ueno, E. Andreopoulou, R. H. Alvarez, V. Valero, S. De placido, G. N. Hortobagyi, J. M. Reuben, M. Cristofanilli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are associated with inferior prognosis in metastatic breast cancer (MBC). We hypothesized that the relationship between CTCs and disease subtype would provide a better understanding of the clinical and biologic behavior of MBC. Patients and methods: We retrospectively analyzed 517 MBC patients treated at a single institution. Subtypes of primary tumors were analyzed by immunohistochemical (IHC) or fluorescent in situ hybridization analyses and CTCs were enumerated by CellSearch ® at starting a new therapy. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival durations for each IHC subtype were determined. Results: At a median follow-up of 24.6 months, 276 of 517 (53%) patients had died. The median OS for patients with <5 and ≥5 CTCs were 32.4 and 18.3 months, respectively (P < 0.001). Except in HER2+ patients, the prognostic value of CTCs was independent of disease subtype and disease site. Conclusions: In this large retrospective study, CTCs were strongly predictive of survival in all MBC subtypes except HER2+ patients who had been treated with targeted therapy. Our results clearly demonstrate the value of enumerating CTCs in MBC and strongly suggest an interesting biological implication in the HER2+ subset of patients that need to be further explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1150
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • Circulating tumor cells
  • HER2
  • Immunohistochemical subtypes
  • Metastatic breast cancer
  • Tumor markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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