Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Oncol. 2013 Nov;24(11):2786-93. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdt350. Epub 2013 Aug 22.

Ki67 levels as predictive and prognostic parameters in pretherapeutic breast cancer core biopsies: a translational investigation in the neoadjuvant GeparTrio trial.

Author information

Institute of Pathology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin.



The proliferation marker Ki67 has been suggested as a promising cancer biomarker. As Ki67 needs an exact quantification, this marker is a prototype of a new generation of tissue-based biomarkers. In this study, we have systematically evaluated different cut points for Ki67 using three different clinical end points in a large neoadjuvant study cohort.


We have evaluated pretherapeutic Ki67 levels by immunohistochemistry in 1166 breast cancer core biopsies from the neoadjuvant GeparTrio trial. We used the standardized cutoff-finder algorithm for three end points [response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (pCR), disease-free (DFS) and overall-survival (OS)]. The analyses were stratified for hormone receptor (HR) and HER2 status by molecular subtype radar diagrams (MSRDs).


A wide range of Ki67 cut points between 3%-94% (for pCR), 6%-46% (for DFS) and 4%-58% (for OS) were significant. The three groups of Ki67 ≤ 15% versus 15.1%-35% versus >35% had pCR-rates of 4.2%, 12.8%, and 29.0% (P < 0.0005), this effect was also present in six of eight molecular subtypes. In MSRD, Ki67 was significantly linked to prognosis in uni- and multivariate analysis in the complete cohort and in HR-positive, but not triple-negative tumors.


Ki67 is a significant predictive and prognostic marker over a wide range of cut points suggesting that data-derived cut point optimization might not be possible. Ki67 could be used as a continuous marker; in addition, the scientific community could define standardized cut points for Ki67. Our analysis explains the variability observed for Ki67 cut points in previous studies; however, this should not be seen as weakness, but as strength of this marker. MSRDs are an easy new approach for visualization of biomarker effects on outcome across molecular subtypes in breast cancer. The experience with Ki67 could provide important information regarding the development and implementation of other quantitative biomarkers.


Ki67; breast cancer; immunohistochemistry; neoadjuvant; prediction; prognosis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center