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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Nov 10;29(32):4273-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.31.2835. Epub 2011 Oct 11.

Prognostic value of a combined estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, Ki-67, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 immunohistochemical score and comparison with the Genomic Health recurrence score in early breast cancer.

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Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, United Kingdom.



We recently reported that the mRNA-based, 21-gene Genomic Health recurrence score (GHI-RS) provided additional prognostic information regarding distant recurrence beyond that obtained from classical clinicopathologic factors (age, nodal status, tumor size, grade, endocrine treatment) in women with early breast cancer, confirming earlier reports. The aim of this article is to determine how much of this information is contained in standard immunohistochemical (IHC) markers.


The primary cohort comprised 1,125 estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) patients from the Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination (ATAC) trial who did not receive adjuvant chemotherapy, had the GHI-RS computed, and had adequate tissue for the four IHC measurements: ER, progesterone receptor (PgR), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), and Ki-67. Distant recurrence was the primary end point, and proportional hazards models were used with sample splitting to control for overfitting. A prognostic model that used classical variables and the four IHC markers (IHC4 score) was created and assessed in a separate cohort of 786 patients.


All four IHC markers provided independent prognostic information in the presence of classical variables. In sample-splitting analyses, the information in the IHC4 score was found to be similar to that in the GHI-RS, and little additional prognostic value was seen in the combined use of both scores. The prognostic value of the IHC4 score was further validated in the second separate cohort.


This study suggests that the amount of prognostic information contained in four widely performed IHC assays is similar to that in the GHI-RS. Additional studies are needed to determine the general applicability of the IHC4 score.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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