The value of HER-2/neu status as a predictor of response to anthracycline-based chemotherapy is still a matter of debate. We evaluated the contribution of HER-2/neu gene amplification and other biologic markers in predicting response to different doses of neoadjuvant anthracycline-based chemotherapy.
Clinical and pathologic records of 115 primary breast cancer patients were reviewed. Forty-eight and 67 patients received high (doxorubicin ≥20 mg/m2/wk; epirubicin ≥30 mg/m2/wk) and moderate-low anthracycline dose intensity regimens, respectively. Pathologic diagnosis, hormonal receptor status (HR), Ki67, and HER-2/neu status were assessed on tumor samples before neoadjuvant chemotherapy. HER-2/neu was determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).
HER-2/neu amplification was observed in 29/115 (25%) tumors, 18 from moderate-low-dose and 11 from high-dose group. In the univariate analysis, a high Ki67 index (≥20%) and positive clinical axillary nodes were predictive of an objective tumor response (P = 0.033 and 0.001, respectively). In the multivariate analysis, Ki67 was the only factor predictive of response (OR = 3.08, 95% CI = 1.1–8.5, P = 0.03). HER-2/neu status was not a factor in predicting objective response to different anthracycline dose intensities. The same finding was observed with regards to HR and Ki67.
In our series, no significant dose-response relationship was found according to HER-2/neu status.