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Ann Oncol. 2008 Apr;19(4):669-74. Epub 2007 Nov 15.

MAPK overexpression is associated with anthracycline resistance and increased risk for recurrence in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Istanbul University, Topkapi, 34390 Istanbul, Turkey.



Triple-negative breast cancer is estimated to account for 15%-20% of all patients with breast cancer and is considered as a prognostically unfavorable subset. The aim of this study is to evaluate the prognostic impact of various molecular factors in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.


Tumor specimens from 109 patients with receptor-negative (estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor) breast cancer were analyzed for mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) expression by immunohistochemistry. The prognostic significance of these molecular factors, in addition to various prognostic variables, was investigated.


Fifteen (13.8%), 38 (34.9%) and 33 patients (30.3%) had positive staining for EGFR, MAPK and PI3K, respectively. MAPK was associated with anthracycline resistance (P = 0.008) and lower MAPK score was significantly associated with shorter disease-free survival (P = 0.029). Survival following relapse was significantly worse for those with a higher MAPK score (P = 0.03).


MAPK is a significant prognostic and predictive factor in patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Furthermore, the level of staining among those with a positive MAPK expression may play a prognostic role at different stages of relapse. Further translational research is required to elucidate molecular mechanisms of tumor proliferation in this subset of patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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