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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010 Jan;119(2):391-8. doi: 10.1007/s10549-009-0597-5.

Screening for clonal hematopoiesis as a predictive marker for development of therapy-related myeloid neoplasia (t-MN) following neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer: a Southwest Oncology Group study (S0012).

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  • 1Department of Cytogenetics, City of Hope, 1500 E. Duarte Rd., Duarte, CA 91010, USA. slovak@signaturegenomics.com


A serious complication associated with breast cancer treatment is the increased risk for development of therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN). To determine whether dose-intensive adjuvant regimens for breast cancer induce genetic damage to hematopoietic stem cells, defined by the emergence of clonal hematopoiesis, and whether detection of clonal hematopoiesis could be used as an early marker for the subsequent development of t-MN, the Southwest Oncology Group designed a pilot clonality investigation to estimate the incidence of clonal hematopoiesis during and shortly after completion of the dose intensive neoadjuvant regimens for high-risk breast cancer patients. Peripheral blood samples from 274 patients obtained prior to treatment, at time of surgery, and at 6 and 12 months post-surgery were examined by two different clonality assays: the HUMARA (HUMan Androgen Receptor) assay to estimate the incidence of early genetic damage by clonal proliferation, and microsatellite instability (MSI) testing to screen for LOH or defective DNA mismatch repair mechanisms. Clonal hematopoiesis was negative in 93.5% of the samples analyzed. Five patients showed a HUMARA-positive/MSI-negative pattern, and no patients showed a HUMARA-negative/MSI-positive pattern. With a median follow-up of 3.1 years, one patient in our study developed t-AML at 3 years 5 months after randomization. Our results indicate that clonal hematopoiesis assays performed within the 2 years following dose-intensive neoadjuvant therapy failed to identify an emerging clonal hematopoietic stem cell population. Longer clinical follow-up will be necessary to define better the positive predictive value of detecting clonal hematopoiesis in the HUMARA+/MSI- cases.

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