Background: Breast cancer cells deficient for BRCA1 are hypersensitive to agents inducing DNA double-strand breaks (DSB), such as bifunctional alkylators and platinum agents. Earlier, we had developed a comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) classifier based on BRCA1-mutated breast cancers. We hypothesised that this BRCA1-likeCGH classifier could also detect loss of function of BRCA1 due to other causes besides mutations and, consequently, might predict sensitivity to DSB-inducing agents. Patients and methods: We evaluated this classifier in stage III breast cancer patients, who had been randomly assigned between adjuvant high-dose platinum-based (HD-PB) chemotherapy, a DSB-inducing regimen, and conventional anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Additionally, we assessed BRCA1 loss through mutation or promoter methylation and immunohistochemical basal-like status in the triple-negative subgroup (TN subgroup). Results: We observed greater benefit from HD-PB chemotherapy versus conventional chemotherapy among patients with BRCA1-likeCGH tumours [41/230 = 18%, multivariate hazard ratio (HR) = 0.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.04-0.43] compared with patients with non-BRCA1-likeCGH tumours (189/230 = 82%, HR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.50-1.20), with a significant difference (test for interaction P = 0.006). Similar results were obtained for overall survival (P interaction = 0.04) and when analyses were restricted to the TN subgroup. Sixty-three percent (20/32) of assessable BRCA1-likeCGH tumours harboured either a BRCA1 mutation (n = 8) or BRCA1 methylation (n = 12). Conclusion: BRCA1 loss as assessed by CGH analysis can identify patients with substantially improved outcome after adjuvant DSB-inducing chemotherapy when compared with standard anthracycline-based chemotherapy in our series.
- Array comparative genomic hybridisation
- Breast cancer
- High-dose chemotherapy
- Platinum salt
- Predictive marker