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Estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor as predictive biomarkers of response to endocrine therapy: a prospectively powered pathology study in the Tamoxifen and Exemestane Adjuvant Multinational trial.

Author(s): Bartlett JM, Brookes CL, Robson T, van de Velde CJ, Billingham LJ, Campbell FM, Grant M, Hasenburg A, Hille ET, Kay C, Kieback DG, Putter H, Markopoulos C, Kranenbarg EM, Mallon EA, Dirix L, Seynaeve C, Rea D

Affiliation(s): Endocrine Cancer Group, Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, Western General Hospital, Crewe Rd South, Edinburgh, EH4 2XR, United Kingdom. John.Bartlett@ed.ac.uk

Publication date & source: 2011-04-20, J Clin Oncol., 29(12):1531-8. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Publication type: Clinical Trial, Phase III; Comparative Study; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

PURPOSE: The Tamoxifen and Exemestane Adjuvant Multinational (TEAM) trial included a prospectively planned pathology substudy testing the predictive value of progesterone receptor (PgR) expression for outcome of estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) early breast cancer treated with exemestane versus tamoxifen. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Pathology blocks from 4,781 TEAM patients randomly assigned to exemestane versus tamoxifen followed by exemestane for 5 years of total therapy were collected centrally, and tissue microarrays were constructed from samples from 4,598 patients. Quantitative analysis of hormone receptors (ER and PgR) was performed by using image analysis and immunohistochemistry, and the results were linked to outcome data from the main TEAM trial and analyzed relative to disease-free survival and treatment. RESULTS: Of 4,325 eligible ER-positive patients, 23% were PgR-poor (Allred < 4) and 77% were PgR- rich (Allred >/= 5). No treatment-by-marker effect for PgR was observed for exemestane versus tamoxifen (PgR-rich hazard ratio [HR], 0.83; 95% CI, 0.65 to 1.05; PgR-poor HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.61 to 1.19; P = .88 for interaction). Both PgR and ER expression were associated with patient prognosis in univariate (PgR HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.65; P < .001; ER HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.86; P = .002), and multivariate analyses (P < .001 and P = .001, respectively). A trend toward a treatment-by-marker effect for ER-rich patients was observed. CONCLUSION: Preferential exemestane versus tamoxifen treatment benefit was not predicted by PgR expression; conversely, patients with ER-rich tumors may derive additional benefit from exemestane. Quantitative analysis of ER and PgR expression provides highly significant information on risk of early relapse (within 1 to 3 years) during treatment.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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