Differential molecular pathways expression in HER2 positive early breast cancer according to hormone receptor status
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Hormone receptors (HR) status in HER2 + breast cancer (BC) is a recognized stratification factor with relevant clinical implication. According to HR expression, HER2 + BC show different clinical characteristics, treatment sensitivity and prognosis. The interaction between HR and HER2 pathways remains incompletely understood.
Thirty-four HER2 + BC were included: 18 tumors with HER2+/HR + and 16 with HER2+/HR−. The expression of 770 genes and 13 molecular pathways were evaluated using Nanostring PanCancer Pathway panel performed on FFPE BC biopsies.
Gene expression analysis identified 127 genes with significantly different expression between the two cohorts. 83% of these genes were overexpressed in HER2+/HR− cohort. Globally, 23% of them belonged to PI3K pathway (41 genes), 15% to Trascriptional regulation (26 genes) and 12% to MAPK (22 genes). Regarding pathway expression, PI3K, MAPK and NOTCH were significantly differently expressed between the two groups (p = 0.003, p = 0.0018 and p = 0.02, respectively), all of them were overexpressed in HER2+/HR− tumors.
According to HR status, HER2 + tumors express different pathways profiles: the overexpression of PI3K, MAPK and NOTCH pathways in HER2+/HR− group could justify different survival outcomes and treatment sensitivity. The identification of tumor driver pathways may be a useful instrument for individualized pathway-directed therapies. Further clinical implications are warranted.
KeywordsHER2 positive Trastuzumab PI3K MAPK Molecular pathways
This study was funded by Progetto Ricerca Finalizzata 2009 (RF 2009-1472600).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
No potential conflicts of interest were declared.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The Ethical Committee of Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Policlinico di Modena approved this study (protocol number: CE 267/15). All patients signed a written, informed consent.
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