Phosphorylated p-70S6K predicts tamoxifen resistance in postmenopausal breast cancer patients randomized between adjuvant tamoxifen versus no systemic treatment

Karin Beelen, Mark Opdam, Tesa M. Severson, Rutger H.T. Koornstra, Andrew D. Vincent, Jelle Wesseling, Jettie J. Muris, Els M.J.J. Berns, Jan B. Vermorken, Paul J. van Diest, Sabine C. Linn

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Abstract

Introduction: Activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and/or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways results in anti-estrogen resistance in vitro, but a biomarker with clinical validity to predict intrinsic resistance has not been identified. In metastatic breast cancer patients with previous exposure to endocrine therapy, the addition of a mammalian target of rapamycine (mTOR) inhibitor has been shown to be beneficial. Whether or not patients on adjuvant endocrine treatment might benefit from these drugs is currently unclear. A biomarker that predicts intrinsic resistance could potentially be used as companion diagnostic in this setting. We tested the clinical validity of different downstream-activated proteins in the PI3K and/or MAPK pathways to predict intrinsic tamoxifen resistance in postmenopausal primary breast cancer patients.Methods: We recollected primary tumor tissue from patients who participated in a randomized trial of adjuvant tamoxifen (1-3 years) versus observation. After constructing a tissue micro-array, cores from 563 estrogen receptor α positive were immunostained for p-AKT(Thr308), p-AKT(Ser473), p-mTOR, p-p706SK and p-ERK1/2. Cox proportional hazard models for recurrence free interval were used to assess hazard ratios and interactions between these markers and tamoxifen treatment efficacy.Results: Interactions were identified between tamoxifen and p-AKT(Thr308), p-mTOR, p-p70S6K and p-ERK1/2. Applying a conservative level of significance, p-p70S6K remained significantly associated with tamoxifen resistance. Patients with p-p70S6K negative tumors derived significant benefit from tamoxifen (HR 0.24, P < 0.0001), while patients whose tumor did express p-p70S6K did not (HR = 1.02, P =0.95), P for interaction 0.004. In systemically untreated breast cancer patients, p-p70S6K was associated with a decreased risk for recurrence.Conclusions: Patients whose tumor expresses p-p70S6K, as a marker of downstream PI3K and/or MAPK pathway activation, have a favorable prognosis, but do not benefit from adjuvant tamoxifen. A potential benefit from inhibitors of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in these patients needs to be further explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberR6
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 21 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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