West German Study Group Phase III PlanB Trial: First Prospective Outcome Data for the 21-Gene Recurrence Score Assay and Concordance of Prognostic Markers by Central and Local Pathology Assessment.
Purpose: The 21-gene Recurrence Score (RS) assay is a validated prognostic/predictive tool in early hormone receptor-positive breast cancer (BC); however, only a few prospective outcome results have been available so far. In the phase III PlanB trial, RS was prospectively used to define a subset of patients who received only endocrine therapy. We present 3-year outcome data and concordance analysis (among biomarkers/RS).
Patients and methods: Central tumor bank was established prospectively from PlanB (intermediate and high-risk, locally human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative BC). After an early amendment, HR-positive, pN0-1 patients with RS ≤ 11 were recommended to omit chemotherapy.
Results: From 2009 to 2011, PlanB enrolled 3,198 patients with a median age of 56 years; 41.1% had node-positive and 32.5% grade 3 disease. In 348 patients (15.3%), chemotherapy was omitted based on RS ≤ 11. After 35 months median follow-up, 3-year disease-free survival in patients with RS ≤ 11 and endocrine therapy alone was 98% versus 92% and 98% in RS > 25 and RS 12 to 25 in chemotherapy-treated patients, respectively. Nodal status, central and local grade, the Ki-67 protein encoded by the MKI67 gene, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, tumor size, and RS were univariate prognostic factors for disease-free survival; only nodal status, both central and local grade, and RS were independent multivariate factors. Histologic grade was discordant between central and local laboratories in 44%. RS was positively but moderately correlated with the Ki-67 protein encoded by the MKI67 gene and grade and negatively correlated with progesterone receptor and estrogen receptor.
Conclusion: In this prospective trial, patients with enhanced clinical risk and omitted chemotherapy on the basis of RS ≤ 11 had excellent 3-year survival. The substantial discordance observed between traditional prognostic markers and RS emphasizes the need for standardized assessment and supports the potential integration of standardized, well-validated genomic assays such as RS with clinicopathologic prognostic factors for chemotherapy indication in early hormone receptor-positive BC.