Indexed on: 22 Jun '16Published on: 21 Jun '16Published in: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
We investigated the correlation of ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) protein expression with clinicopathological features and prognosis in patients with breast cancer. ATM expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in 420 surgically resected breast tumors. ATM loss was observed in 126/407 evaluable cases (31.0 %), and was significantly associated with larger tumor size, lymph node metastasis, higher tumor grade, and ER- and/or PR-negative status. ATM loss was also associated with significantly lower disease-free survival rates than those in patients with intact ATM (5-year disease-free survival rate 81.2 vs. 90.7 %, p = 0.015). In multivariate analysis, ATM loss combined with abnormal p53 expression was an independent predictor of shorter disease-free survival [hazard ratio (HR) 3.48; 95 % confidence interval (CI), 1.48–8.17, p = 0.004]. A tendency towards a poorer prognosis was observed for tumoral ATM loss alone, although statistical significance was not reached (HR 1.74; 95 % CI 0.95–3.20; p = 0.075). In subgroup analysis, ATM loss was associated with shorter disease-free survival in patients who did not receive adjuvant anthracycline chemotherapy (5-year disease-free survival rate 92.7 % in intact ATM group vs. 68.1 % in ATM loss group, p = 0.002), but this poor prognosis was overcome in patients who did (5-year disease-free survival rate 89.8 vs. 84.4 %, p = 0.243), suggesting more benefit from anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Tumors with loss of ATM expression have a poor prognosis and their prognoses are dependent on the use of adjuvant anthracycline. ATM loss might be a practical tool for predicting benefits from anthracycline-based adjuvant therapy.