Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies in women. Due to early detection and the use of screening programs approximately 60% of all new cases lack lymph node involvement. Today, a substantial proportion of these women will be offered adjuvant systemic chemotherapy. However, better proliferation markers are needed to predict patient outcome and to avoid overtreatment.
Cyclin A, cyclin E and Ki-67 are all markers for proliferation and involved in the regulation of the cell cycle. Overexpression has been associated with disease recurrence in several studies, but the results have not been consistent. However, none of these studies has investigated aberrant expression of cyclin E (the expression of cyclin E during phases of the cell cycle other than late G1 and early S-phase). Studies have shown that aberrant cyclin E might provide additional prognostic information compared to cyclin E alone.
The aims of this thesis were 1.to investigate the prognostic value of cyclin A, cyclin E and aberrant cyclin E in early breast cancer. 2.to validate the tissue microarray (TMA) technique for cyclin A and 3.to define the most optimal cut-off values for cyclin A and Ki-67.
We found that the agreement of TMA and large section results was good with kappa values 0.62-0.75 and that the reproducibility of the two readers’ results was good or even very good, with kappa values 0.71 – 0.87.
The optimal cut-off value for cyclin A average was 8% and for cyclin A maximum value 11%. The corresponding values for Ki-67 were 15 and 22%.
Neither cyclin E nor aberrant cyclin E was a prognostic factor in low-risk node negative breast cancer patients.
Finally, we conclude that cyclin A is a prognostic factor in node negative breast cancer (univariate analysis average value OR=2.9 95% CI 1.8-4.6; maximum value OR=3.7 95% CI 2.3-5.9).