Two discriminating biological markers found to predict a favorable response to treatment in triple-negative breast cancer

Published on February 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM · No Comments

Quinten, a strategic and operational consulting company specializing in the evaluation of biomedical data in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and cosmetic industries, today announces the identification of two discriminating biological marker candidates which are indicative of a favorable response to treatment in women suffering from triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). In the sub-group with both markers in combination, 86 per cent of women responded to treatment with Panitumumab plus Fec 100, followed by Docetaxel, with complete disappearance of the tumor (equating to a full pathological response on Chevallier’s classification). Only 47 per cent of women in the total population examined during Phase II testing showed a similar response to treatment.

Using its proprietary Q-Finder algorithm, Quinten analyzed 200 biological variables relating to samples taken from 47 TNBC patients, provided by the Centre Jean Perrin in Clermont-Ferrand, which is led by Professor J Dauplat. The biological markers which have been identified confirm and build on results already found by teams working at the center under Professor Nabholtz, who is responsible for the medical and clinical research departments and Professor Penault-Lorca, Head of Biopathology and Director of the 4677 ERTICa university research team (Equipe de recherche sur les traitements individualises du cancer [personalised cancer treatment research team]) at the University of Auvergne.

In cancers showing a mixed basal/luminal phenotype, among patients with an EFGR score of more than 80, combined with a cytokeratin 8/18 percentage in excess of 20, the response rate to treatment is almost double (1.83 times) the overall rate for women suffering from TNBC. These patients represent approximately 30 per cent of women with TNBC.

TNBC accounts for around 15 per cent of breast tumors. A breast tumor is said to be triple negative if less than one per cent of its mass is made up of estrogen and progesterone receptor-carrying cells, and it exhibits no HER2 overexpression or amplification. These are found in around 13 per cent of breast cancers. This type of cancer affects mainly younger women under the age of 50. In older women, it is often known as an ‘interval’ cancer which is discovered between two routine screening mammograms, where the most recent showed perfectly normal results. It is known to be an aggressive cancer, with ten-year survival rates of just five per cent for basal phenotype TNBC (75 per cent of all TNBC cases) and 62 per cent for other TNBC cases. It is not unusual to see a rapid spread of pulmonary and cerebral metastases following conventional treatment, as the cancer cells spread through the bloodstream rather than the lymph ducts. There are few specific or targeted treatments available for triple-negative breast cancer at present. (Source: Eurocancer 2011)

“As far as we know, this is the first time that prognostic biological markers for a favorable response to this type of treatment have been discovered for triple-negative breast cancer. This discovery once again illustrates and confirms our ability to identify synergistic variable interactions which define specific high-benefit or high-risk sub-groups within a given population,” explains Alexandre Templier, CEO of Quinten. “This approach to personalized medicine has long been of interest to pharmaceutical laboratories. More recently, we have seen growing interest from academic teams. We help them to make the best possible use of their data.”

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