Prediction of clinical outcome from primary tamoxifen by expression of biologic markers in breast cancer patients
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
The aim of this study was to evaluate pretreatment clinical features and biological markers together with changes in these factors as predictors of response and relapse in patients receiving tamoxifen for primary breast cancer. Fine-needle aspiration cytology of the primary breast cancer was performed before tamoxifen treatment in 54 patients and repeated after therapy on day 14, day 60, or on both days in a subset of 35 patients. These samples were evaluated for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), Ki67, S-phase fraction and ploidy. The overall response to tamoxifen was 57% (31 of 54 patients). Pretreatment ER and PgR significantly predicted for response by univariate analysis (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.003, respectively). By multivariate analysis, ER expression was the only independent predictor of response, and it was associated with 27 times the likelihood of response (95% confidence interval, 6-136). Increase in PgR and decrease in Ki67 on day 14 significantly predicted for response to tamoxifen (P < 0.03 and P < 0.04, respectively). Lack of ER, clinical node-positive disease, and failure to decrease Ki67 on day 14 were significantly associated with increased risk of relapse (P < 0.05). By multivariate analysis, ER expression was the only independent predictor of relapse (P < 0.005). Pretreatment and early changes in molecular marker expression may assist in the prediction of response and clinical outcome in primary breast cancer patients receiving tamoxifen.