Breast cancer heterogeneity can be related directly to its variability at the genetic level. Thus, tumor genotyping could be a valuable approach to define breast tumor subtypes, It has been shown that it is possible to delineate subgroups of breast tumors according to specific sets of DNA amplifications. The aim of the present work was to study the prognostic significance of these DNA amplifications. We studied DNA amplification at eight genes or loci (AIB1, CCND1, EMS1, ERBB2, FGFR1, MDM2, MYC, and RMC20C001) as well as p53 mutations in a series of 640 breast cancer patients who had not received presurgical therapy and analyzed the correlations with survival. DNA amplification was assessed by Southern blotting and was scored positive when exceeding three to five copies. Mutations in the p53 gene were searched by four-color fluorescent single-strand conformational polymorphism, using an automated sequencer. Of the nine genetic alterations tested, four (CCND1, EMS1, FGFR1, and p53 mutations) showed a significant association with reduced disease-free (DFS) and/or overall survival (OVS) in the unselected set of patients by univariate test. Correlations for p53 were found only when selecting mutations in exons 5 or 7. Analysis of node-negative and -positive sub-groups of patients showed that MDM2 amplification and p53 mutations bore prognostic significance in node-negative patients, whereas amplification of CCND1, EMS1, and FGFR1 correlated with poor outcome in node-positive patients. Multivariate analysis on an unselected set of patients retained significance for the amplification of EMS1, FGFR1, and MDM2 with DFS, of CCND1 with OVS, and of RMC20C001 with both DFS and OVS. Interestingly, stratified analysis according to nodal status confirmed results obtained in the univariate tests: significance of MDM2 amplification and p53 mutations in node-negative and that of CCND1, EMS1, and FGFR1 in node-positive patients. We also observed an association between the number of genetic alterations observed in a tumor and poor prognosis. Patients with two or more amplified loci had a worsened outcome. Strongly correlating coamplifications such as CCND1 and FGFR1, as well as ERBB2 and MYC, were associated with a significant reduction of patient survival, thus indicating cooperative effects, Our data support the idea that genetic alterations in breast cancer are not only helpful for phenotyping purposes, but can also represent powerful prognostic indicators in the clinical practice.
|Publication status||Published - 2000|