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Br J Cancer. 2009 Oct 20;101(8):1357-64. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605310. Epub 2009 Sep 15.

Gene expression profile and response to trastuzumab-docetaxel-based treatment in breast carcinoma.

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Centre Georges François Leclerc, IFR-Santé-STIC, Dijon Cedex, France.



Resistance to trastuzumab is often observed in women with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer and has been shown to involve multiple potential mechanisms. We examined the ability of microarray analyses to determine the potential markers of pathological complete response (pCR).


We conducted an analysis of tumours from 38 patients with locally advanced HER2-positive breast cancer who had received trastuzumab combined with docetaxel. Quantitative reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR was used to assess the expression of 30 key genes; microarray analyses were carried out on 25 tumours to identify a prognostic gene expression profile, with 13 blinded samples used to validate the identified profile.


No gene was found to correlate with response by RT-PCR. The microarray analysis identified a gene expression profile of 28 genes, with 12 upregulated in the pCR group and 16 upregulated in non-pCR. The leave-one-out cross-validation test exhibited 72% accuracy, 86% specificity, and 55% sensitivity. The 28-gene expression profile classified the 13 validation samples with 92% accuracy, 89% specificity, and 100% sensitivity.


Our results suggest that genes not involved in classical cancer pathways such as apoptosis or DNA repair could be involved in responses to a trastuzumab-docetaxel-based regimen. They also describe for the first time a gene expression signature that predicts trastuzumab response.

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