Cell cycle alterations and 11q13 amplification in breast cancer : prediction of adjuvant treatment response
The growth and development of the breast is to a large extent regulated by oestrogens through the oestrogen receptor (ER). Activation of the ER? triggers transcription of genes that are important for cell proliferation and stimulates entry into the G1 phase of the cell cycle. In breast cancer the ER? is often upregulated and is therefore a suitable target for adjuvant therapies such as tamoxifen. Although tamoxifen is an effective treatment in most cases, tumours sometimes acquire resistance to the drug. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the impact of G1 phase proteins and 11q13 amplification on prognosis and treatment response in breast cancer. The material used was from a clinical trial in which postmenopausal breast cancer patients were randomised to chemotherapy or radiotherapy and tamoxifen or no adjuvant treatment. We studied the expression of cyclin D1, cyclin E and Rb with immunohisochemistry and amplification of CCND1 and PAK1 with real time PCR. We found that among patients with high tumour expression of cyclin D1, overexpression of ErbB2 was associated with reduced recurrence-free survival. Both cyclin D1 and cyclin E overexpression were associated with reduced tamoxifen response. High expression of cyclin D1 has been found to induce ligand independent activation of ER? in breast cancer cells and might also switch tamoxifen from acting as an antagonist to an agonist. Overexpression of cyclin E has been shown to be associated with expression of low molecular weight isoforms of the protein that possess an increased kinase activity and are insensitive to p21 and p27 inhibition. Furthermore, amplification of 11q13, and in particular the gene PAK1, was a strong predictor of tamoxifen resistance. The pak1 protein is involved in phosphorylation and ligand independent activation of the ER?. We also found that lost expression of either p53 or Rb reduced the patients benefit from radiotherapy compared with patients with normal expression of both proteins. Normally, ionizing radiation upregulates p53 resulting in G1 arrest or apoptosis. If either functional p53 or Rb is missing the cells can proceed from G1 to the S phase despite damaged DNA. The expression of the microRNA, miR-206, was analysed with real time PCR, and the results showed that high expression of miR-206 correlated to low expression of ER? and 11q13 amplification. In vitro studies have shown that miR-206 negatively regulates the expression of ER?. Taken together the G1 regulators and amplification of 11q13 seem to have an important role in predicting the patient’s response to adjuvant therapy.
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2009