Research Papers:

DNA repair prognostic index modelling reveals an essential role for base excision repair in influencing clinical outcomes in ER negative and triple negative breast cancers

Tarek M.A. Abdel-Fatah _, Arvind Arora, Paul M. Moseley, Christina Perry, Emad A. Rakha, Andrew R. Green, Stephen Y.T. Chan, Ian O. Ellis and Srinivasan Madhusudan

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:21964-21978. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4157

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Tarek M.A. Abdel-Fatah1, Arvind Arora2, Paul M. Moseley1, Christina Perry2, Emad A. Rakha3, Andrew R. Green3, Stephen Y.T. Chan1, Ian O. Ellis3, Srinivasan Madhusudan1,2

1Department of Oncology, Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK

2Academic Unit of Oncology, Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG51 PB, UK

3Department of Pathology, Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK

Correspondence to:

Srinivasan Madhusudan, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: DNA repair, base excision repair, ER-, TNBC, prognosis

Received: February 17, 2015     Accepted: May 19, 2015     Published: June 01, 2015


Stratification of oestrogen receptor (ER) negative and triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) is urgently needed. In the current study, a cohort of 880 ER- (including 635 TNBCs) was immuno-profiled for a panel of DNA repair proteins including: Pol β, FEN1, APE1, XRCC1, SMUG1, PARP1, BRCA1, ATR, ATM, DNA-PKcs, Chk1, Chk2, p53, and TOPO2. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models (with backward stepwise exclusion of these factors, using a criterion of p < 0.05 for retention of factors in the model) were used to identify factors that were independently associated with clinical outcomes. XRCC1 (p = 0.002), pol β (p = 0.032) FEN1 (p = 0.001) and BRCA1 (p = 0.040) levels were independently associated with poor BCSS. Subsequently, DNA repair index prognostic (DRPI) scores for breast cancer specific survival (BCSS) were calculated and two prognostic groups (DRPI-PGs) were identified. Patients in prognostic group 2 (DRPI-PG2) have higher risk of death (p < 0.001). Furthermore, in DRPI-PG2 patients, exposure to anthracycline reduced the risk of death [(HR (95% CI) = 0.79 (0.64–0.98), p = 0.032) by 21–26%. In addition, DRPI-PG2 patients have adverse clinicopathological features including higher grade, lympho-vascular invasion, Her-2 positive phenotype, compared to those in DRPI-PG1 (p < 0.01). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves indicated that the DRPI outperformed the currently used prognostic factors and adding DRPI to lymph node stage significantly improved their performance as a predictor for BCSS [p < 0.00001, area under curve (AUC) = 0.70]. BER strongly influences pathogenesis of ER- and TNBCs. The DRPI accurately predicts BCSS and can also serve as a valuable prognostic and predictive tool for TNBCs.

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