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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 157

of 'Prognostic and predictive factors in early, nonmetastatic breast cancer'

157
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Individual characterisation of the metastatic capacity of human breast carcinoma.
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Heimann R, Hellman S
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Eur J Cancer. 2000;36(13 Spec No):1631.
 
The clinical implications of understanding the invasive and metastatic proclivities of an individual patient's tumour are substantial because the choice of systemic therapy needs to be guided by the likelihood of occult metastasis as well as by knowing when the metastases will become overt. Malignant potential is dynamic, progressing throughout the natural history of a tumour. Required of tumours is the development of critical phenotypic attributes: growth, angiogenesis, invasion and metastagenicity. Characterisation of the extent of tumour progression with regard to these major tumour phenotypes should allow the fashioning of individual therapy for each patient. To examine the clinical parameters and molecularly characterise the metastatic proclivity we have been studying a series of regionally treated breast cancer patients who received no systemic therapy and have long follow-up. Clinically we describe two parameters: metastagenicity - the metastatic proclivity of a tumour, and virulence--the rate at which these metastases appear. Both attributes increase with tumour size and nodal involvement. However, within each clinical group there is a cured population, even in those with extensive nodal involvement, underscoring the heterogeneity of breast cancers within each group and the need for further molecular characterisation. Using biomarkers that characterise the malignant phenotype we have determined that there is progression in the phenotypic changes. Angiogenesis and loss of nm23 are earlier events than the loss of E-cadherin, or abnormalities in TP53. The strongest biomarkers of poor prognosis are p53 and E-cadherin, but even when both are abnormal 42% of node-negative patients are cured indicating that other determinative steps need to occur before successful metastases are established. Identification of these critical later events will further increase the efficacy of determining the malignant capacities of individual tumours.
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Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology, The Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago, MC 9006, 5758 South Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. heimann@rover.uchicago.edu
PMID