Publications by authors named "Beth Z Clark"

25 Publications

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Prosigna® breast cancer assay: histopathologic correlation, development, and assessment of size, nodal status, Ki-67 (SiNK™) index for breast cancer prognosis.

Mod Pathol 2021 01 1;34(1):70-76. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The Prosigna® assay is a United States Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) cleared molecular test for prognostic use in hormone receptor-positive stage I/II breast cancer in postmenopausal women. We analyzed histopathologic features of 79 cases with Prosigna® assay results and found a significant correlation between tumor size, grade, and Ki-67 labeling index with Prosigna® score (0-40, 41-60, and 61-100) and Prosigna® risk categories. Since the Prosigna® risk stratification is influenced by lymph node status, we designed an index that included lymph node status and the two most correlated variables (size and Ki-67 labeling index). This was termed the size, nodal, and Ki-67 (SiNK™) index and is calculated as follows: (size in mm) + (pN × 10) + (Ki-67 labeling index). The SiNK™ index was divided into ≤40 and >40 to test its prognostic significance in a well-characterized dataset of 106 ER+/HER2-negative stage I-II invasive breast cancers treated with standard multi-modality therapy with long term follow-up (average 101 months follow-up). Patients with SiNK™ ≤40 showed significantly improved distant recurrence-free survival (96% distant recurrence-free survival in SiNK™ ≤40 compared to 81% in SiNK™ >40; log-rank test p value: 0.0027). SiNK™ provides strong prognostic information in ERo+/HER2-negative breast cancers. SiNK™ index is simple to calculate using data from routine pathology reports. This should be further evaluated in larger datasets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0643-8DOI Listing
January 2021

Magee Equations™ and response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in ER+/HER2-negative breast cancer: a multi-institutional study.

Mod Pathol 2021 01 13;34(1):77-84. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

John A. Burns University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI, USA.

Magee Equations™ (ME) are multivariable models that can estimate oncotype DX recurrence score. One of the equations, Magee Equation 3 (ME3) which utilizes only semi-quantitative receptor results has been shown to provide chemopredictive value in the neoadjuvant setting in a single institutional study. This multi-institutional study (seven institutions contributed cases) was undertaken to examine the validity of ME3 in predicting response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in estrogen receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancers. Stage IV cases were excluded. The primary endpoint was the pathologic complete response (pCR) rate in different categories of ME3 scores calculated based on receptor results in the pre-therapy core biopsy. A total of 166 cases met the inclusion criteria. The patient age ranged from 24 to 83 years (median 53 years). The average pre-therapy tumor size was 3.9 cm, and axillary lymph nodes were confirmed positive by pre-therapy core biopsy in 85 of 166 cases (51%). The pCR rate according to ME3 scores was 0% (0 of 64) in ME3 < 18, 0% (0 of 46) in ME3 18-25, 14% (3 of 21) in ME3 > 25 to <31, and 40% (14 of 35) in ME3 score 31 or higher (p value: <0.0001). There were no distant recurrences and no deaths in the 17 patients with pCR. In the remaining 149 cases with residual disease, ME3 score of >25 was significantly associated with shorter distant recurrence-free survival and showed a trend for shorter breast cancer-specific survival. The results of this multi-institutional study are similar to previously published data from a single institution (PMID: 28548119) and confirm the chemo-predictive value of ME3 in the neoadjuvant setting. In addition, ME3 may provide prognostic information in patients with residual disease which should be further evaluated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0620-2DOI Listing
January 2021

The healthcare value of the Magee Decision Algorithm™: use of Magee Equations™ and mitosis score to safely forgo molecular testing in breast cancer.

Mod Pathol 2020 08 17;33(8):1563-1570. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Departments of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Magee Equations™ are multivariable models that can estimate oncotype DX® Recurrence Score, and Magee Equation 3 has been shown to have chemopredictive value in the neoadjuvant setting as a standalone test. The current study tests the accuracy of Magee Decision Algorithm™ using a large in-house database. According to the algorithm, if all Magee Equation scores are <18, or 18-25 with a mitosis score of 1, then oncotype testing is not required as the actual oncotype recurrence score is expected to be ≤25 (labeled "do not send"). If all Magee Equation scores are 31 or higher, then also oncotype testing is not required as the actual score is expected to be >25 (also "do not send"). All other cases could be considered for testing (labeled "send"). Of the 2196 ER+, HER2-negative cases sent for oncotype testing, 1538 (70%) were classified as "do not send" and 658 (30%) as "send". The classification accuracy in the "do not send" group was 95.1%. Of the 75 (4.9%) discordant cases (expected score ≤25 by decision algorithm but the actual oncotype score >25), 26 received endocrine therapy alone. None of these 26 patients experienced distant recurrence (average follow-up of 73 months). The Magee Decision Algorithm accurately identifies cases that will not benefit from oncotype testing. Such cases constitute ~70% of the routine clinical oncotype requests, an estimated saving of $300,000 per 100 test requests. The occasional discordant cases (expected ≤25, but actual oncotype score >25) appears to have an excellent outcome on endocrine therapy alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0521-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7384988PMC
August 2020

Isolated Flat Epithelial Atypia on Core Biopsy Specimens Is Associated With a Low Risk of Upgrade at Excision.

Am J Clin Pathol 2019 04;151(5):511-515

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Objectives: We present a retrospective review of 111 breast core biopsy specimens with flat epithelial atypia (FEA) and corresponding excision to better understand rates of upgrade following this diagnosis.

Methods: In total, 252 breast core biopsy specimens were identified. Cases were excluded if biopsy slides or excision results were unavailable, for ipsilateral carcinoma or other findings warranting excision, or biopsy performed for indications other than mammographically detected calcifications. Coincident atypical lobular hyperplasia was not excluded. Diagnoses were confirmed by breast pathologists, and mammographic images were reviewed.

Results: Ultimately, 111 biopsy specimens with FEA were included. In subsequent excisions, one (1%) of 111 showed invasive carcinoma, 20 (18%) atypical ductal hyperplasia, 20 (18%) lobular neoplasia, 31 (28%) FEA, and 39 (35%) no atypical findings.

Conclusions: FEA on core biopsy specimens is associated with a low rate of upgrade to invasive carcinoma. Close follow-up may be a reasonable alternative to excision for isolated FEA on core needle biopsy specimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcp/aqy175DOI Listing
April 2019

Metaplastic breast carcinoma: a clinical-pathologic study of 97 cases with subset analysis of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Mod Pathol 2019 06 5;32(6):807-816. Epub 2019 Feb 5.

Division of Breast and Gynecologic Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Metaplastic breast carcinoma is a rare heterogeneous category of breast cancer, often associated with a poor prognosis. Clinical-pathologic studies with respect to varied morphologic subtypes are lacking. There is also a dearth of studies assessing the response of metaplastic breast carcinoma to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Cases of metaplastic breast carcinoma diagnosed between 2007 and 2017 were identified. Various clinical-pathologic variables were tested for association with survival. Patients who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy were assessed for pathologic response. Median age at diagnosis with metaplastic breast carcinoma was 64 years. With a median follow-up of 39 months, 26 patients (27%) recurred (24 distant and 2 loco-regional). The overall survival rate of the cohort was 66% (64/97). A number of variables were associated with survival in univariable analysis; however, in multivariable analysis, only lymph node status and tumor size (pT3 vs. pT1/2) were significantly associated with all survival endpoints: recurrence-free survival, distant recurrence-free survival, overall survival and breast cancer-specific survival. Twenty-nine of 97 (30%) patients with metaplastic breast carcinoma received neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Five (17%) patients achieved pathologic complete response. Matrix-producing morphology was associated with higher probability of achieving pathologic complete response (p = 0.027). Similar to other breast cancer subtypes, tumor size and lymph node status are prognostic in metaplastic carcinomas. The pathologic complete response rate of metaplastic breast carcinoma in our cohort was 17%, higher than previously reported. Although the matrix-producing subtype was associated with pathologic complete response, there was no survival difference with respect to tumor subtypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-019-0208-xDOI Listing
June 2019

Breast Cancers With Magee Equation Score of Less Than 18, or 18-25 and Mitosis Score of 1, Do Not Require Oncotype DX Testing: A Value Study.

Am J Clin Pathol 2019 02;151(3):316-323

Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Objectives: To investigate use of Magee equations (MEs) to determine which breast cancer cases can be excluded from Oncotype DX testing.

Methods: A prospective value study was carried out using data from pathology reports.

Results: If all three MEs scores were less than 18 or 31 or higher, the cases were labeled do not send for testing. If any or all scores were 18 to 25, cases were labeled do not send if mitosis score was 1. Of the total 205 cases, 146 (71%) were labeled do not send; of these, the correct call was made in 143 (98%) cases. Two of the three discordant cases had associated nontumor factors, likely resulting in higher scores.

Conclusions: Cases with ME scores less than 18, or 18 to 25 and mitosis score 1, do not require Oncotype DX testing, an estimated saving of US$280,000 per 100 clinical requests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcp/aqy148DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6360636PMC
February 2019

Breast cancer global tumor biomarkers: a quality assurance study of intratumoral heterogeneity.

Mod Pathol 2019 03 16;32(3):354-366. Epub 2018 Oct 16.

Faculty of Computer Science, Bialystok University of Technology, Bialystok, Poland.

Biomarker analysis of invasive breast carcinoma is useful for prognosis, as surrogate for molecular subtypes of breast cancer, and prediction of response to adjuvant and neoadjuvant systemic therapies. Breast cancer intratumoral heterogeneity is incompletely studied. Comprehensive biomarker analysis of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), HER2, and Ki67 labeling index was performed on each tissue block of 100 entirely submitted breast tumors in 99 patients. Invasive carcinoma and in situ carcinoma was scored using semiquantitative histologic score (H-score) for ER and PR, HER2 expression from 0 to 3+, and percentage positive cells for Ki67. Core biopsy results were compared with surgical excision results, invasive carcinoma was compared with in situ carcinoma, and interblock tumoral heterogeneity was assessed using measures of dispersion (coefficient of variation and quartile coefficient of dispersion). Overall concordance between core biopsy and surgical excision was 99% for ER and 95% for PR. Mean histologic score of ER was significantly lower in invasive carcinoma between core biopsy and surgical excision (p = 0.000796). Intratumoral heterogeneity was higher for PR than for ER (mean coefficient of variation for ER 0.08 stdv 0.13 vs. PR 0.26 stdv 0.41). Ki67 labeling index was significantly higher in invasive carcinoma as compared with associated ductal carcinoma in situ on surgical resection specimen (p ≤ 0.0001). Ki67 hotspots were identified in 47% of cases. Of 52 HER2 negative cases on core biopsy, 10 were scored as equivocal on surgical resection. None (0/10) were amplified by Her-2/neu fluorescence in situ hybridization. Overall, biomarkers on core biopsy showed concordance with the surgical excision specimen in the vast majority of cases. Biomarker expression of in situ closely approximates associated invasive carcinoma. Intratumoral heterogeneity of PR is greater than ER. Biomarker expression on diagnostic core biopsy or single tumor block is representative of breast carcinoma as a whole in most cases and is appropriate for clinical decision-making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-018-0153-0DOI Listing
March 2019

High Fidelity of Breast Biomarker Metrics: A 10-Year Experience in a Single, Large Academic Institution.

Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol 2018 Nov/Dec;26(10):697-700

Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Purpose: Recommendations for standardization of breast biomarkers including estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) led to the creation of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)/College of American Pathologists (CAP) guidelines to provide continuous guidance. Included in these recommendations is the "ongoing assay assessment procedures." We report these biomarker metrics as there is a dearth of published information on this topic.

Materials And Methods: ER, PR, and HER2 positivity rates of all newly diagnosed, recurrent, and metastatic invasive breast cancers on core biopsies, and repeated testing on resection specimen by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were collected from April 1, 2008 to December 31, 2017.

Results: The positivity rates of ER, PR, and HER2 over almost 10 years of monitoring showed high fidelity. Total ER-positive rate was 83.6% (81.4% to 86.8%), ER+/PR+ was 71.7% (68.6% to 75.5%), ER+/PR- was 17.6% (11.0% to 15.0%), ER-/PR- was 16.0% (13.5% to 18.2%), and ER-/PR+ was 0.6% (0.2% to 1.0%). The HER2-positive rate was 13.7% (10.2% to 17.4%) including 9.9% (7.3% to 11.9%) by IHC and 3.8% (1.9% to 5.9%) by FISH reflexed from IHC 2+ results. FISH amplification rate of HER2 IHC 2+ cases was 11.0% (5.8% to 19.2%). Annual quality-assurance check for HER2 IHC/FISH percent positive and percent negative agreement (as defined by Food and Drug Administration) was 96% to 100%.

Conclusions: This longitudinal active assessment of 9564 breast biomarker cases shows the achievement of high fidelity of breast biomarker results when following the ASCO/CAP guidelines. Continuous monitoring of breast biomarkers may minimize assay analytical drift and assure quality clinically relevant results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAI.0000000000000697DOI Listing
September 2019

Pathologist's health-care value in the triage of Oncotype DX testing: a value-based pathology study of tumour biology with outcomes.

Histopathology 2018 Oct 6;73(4):692-700. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Department of Pathology, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Aims: Pathologists provide expert tissue assessment of breast cancer, yet their value to guide the appropriate use of breast cancer gene expression profile tests (GEPT) is underutilised. The specific aims of this study are to report morpho-immunohistological characteristics of breast tumours with Oncotype DX (ODx) recurrence scores (RS) of 10 or fewer (ultra-low risk) and 25 or fewer (low risk) in order to determine if pathologists can identify prospectively patient tumours that do not require ODx testing.

Methods And Results: Oncotype DX cases with RS < 10 from 2005 to 2010 comprised 441 of 2594 (17%) of clinical cases; this cohort had 5 years' follow-up and was treated with endocrine therapy alone. Tumours were analysed for tumour type, Nottingham grade, mitosis score (MS) semi-quantitative (H-score) hormone receptor content and Magee equation 3. Knowledge derived from this data set was used to develop algorithms in order to identify prospectively tumours with RS of 10 or fewer or 25 or fewer. Thirty-four per cent of tumours were low-grade special types, while the remainder were enriched with high hormone receptor content with MS of 1. These algorithmic selection criteria identified correctly all patient cases below the chemotherapy cut-point, i.e. RS < 25, indicating that these oncotype test orders were an unnecessary cost.

Conclusions: This unique study demonstrates that (i) pathologists add great value to triage breast cancer for GEPT; and (ii) can identify prospectively low-grade tumour biology with high sensitivity and high specificity for those cases which do not require chemotherapy (RS < 25) using MS and hormone receptor content.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/his.13690DOI Listing
October 2018

Low Estrogen Receptor (ER)-Positive Breast Cancer and Neoadjuvant Systemic Chemotherapy: Is Response Similar to Typical ER-Positive or ER-Negative Disease?

Am J Clin Pathol 2018 May;150(1):34-42

Division of Breast and Gynecologic Pathology, Department of Pathology, Pittsburgh, PA.

Objectives: Pathologic complete response (pCR) rate after neoadjuvant chemotherapy was compared between 141 estrogen receptor (ER)-negative (43%), 41 low ER+ (13%), 47 moderate ER+ (14%), and 98 high ER+ (30%) tumors.

Methods: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive cases, cases without semiquantitative ER score, and patients treated with neoadjuvant endocrine therapy alone were excluded.

Results: The pCR rate of low ER+ tumors was similar to the pCR rate of ER- tumors (37% and 26% for low ER and ER- respectively, P = .1722) but significantly different from the pCR rate of moderately ER+ (11%, P = .0049) and high ER+ tumors (4%, P < .0001). Patients with pCR had an excellent prognosis regardless of the ER status. In patients with residual disease (no pCR), the recurrence and death rate were higher in ER- and low ER+ cases compared with moderate and high ER+ cases.

Conclusions: Low ER+ breast cancers are biologically similar to ER- tumors. Semiquantitative ER H-score is an important determinant of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcp/aqy028DOI Listing
May 2018

Prognostic Significance of Modified Residual Disease in Breast and Nodes (mRDBN) Algorithm After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer.

Am J Clin Pathol 2018 Mar;149(4):332-343

Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Objectives: We hypothesized that prognostic accuracy of the residual disease in breast and lymph nodes (RDBN) method, which is calculated using residual tumor size, nodal involvement, and tumor grade, may be improved by incorporating residual tumor cellularity.

Methods: Cases included 614 patients who underwent neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer. Tumor size was adjusted for residual cellularity of invasive carcinoma and used to calculate modified RDBN (mRDBN) and compared with unmodified gross tumor size (gRDBN).

Results: RDBN could be calculated in 428 cases. Relative risks of recurrence and death were significantly higher for RDBN-3 and RDBN-4 compared with RDBN-1. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed significant differences in disease-free survival and overall survival for estrogen receptor (ER)-negative/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative and ER-positive/HER2-negative subgroups (P < .0001).

Conclusions: Both mRDBN and gRDBN provide prognostic information, particularly in HER2-negative carcinoma; however, mRDBN showed better stratification of RDBN-3 and RDBN-4 patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcp/aqx168DOI Listing
March 2018

Effects of Hydrochloric Acid and Formic Acid Decalcification on Breast Tumor Biomarkers and HER2 Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization.

Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol 2019 03;27(3):223-230

Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Biomarker analysis of metastatic breast carcinoma (MBC) is routinely recommended by ASCO/CAP guidelines, and establishing a diagnosis of MBC often requires immunohistochemistry (IHC). The reliability of breast tumor biomarkers and breast-specific markers on decalcified tissues has not been extensively studied. We performed IHC studies on breast tumors exposed to hydrochloric acid (HCl) and formic acid (FA) decalcification solutions, and HER2 fluorescence in situ hybridization on a subset of these tumors to establish a protocol for handling bone specimens with suspicion for MBC. Fifteen fresh cases of primary breast carcinoma and 8 HER2+ paraffin-embedded core biopsy cases were studied. Fresh tissue was divided into 5 fragments to approximate a bone core biopsy. One fragment (control) was fixed in 10% neutral buffered formalin. The remaining fragments were also exposed to FA or HCl decalcification for 1 or 5 hours. All fragments were embedded in 1 block and tested with an IHC panel. The known HER2+ cases were exposed to either 1 or 5 hours of FA, and HER2 fluorescence in situ hybridization was also performed. Results were interpreted as follows: H-scores for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and GATA-3 were assigned from 0 to 300; HER2, cytokeratin 7, gross cystic disease fluid protein-15, Pax-8, TTF-1, cytokeratin 20, and mammaglobin were scored from 0 to 3+; and Ki67 from 0% to 100%. Mean scores were compared using the t test or Wilcoxon test for paired samples. No significant differences in mean score were seen between NF and 1 hour FA for any IHC immunoreactivity. After 5 hours of FA, only Ki67 average score was significantly less than NF. Mean scores for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, HER2, Ki67, and GATA-3 were significantly lower than NF in the tissue after either 1 or 5 hours of HCl. Mean scores for gross cystic disease fluid protein-15, mammaglobin, and cytokeratin 7 staining were not significantly lower than NF after 1 or 5 hours of HCl.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAI.0000000000000564DOI Listing
March 2019

Magee Equation 3 predicts pathologic response to neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy in estrogen receptor positive, HER2 negative/equivocal breast tumors.

Mod Pathol 2017 08 26;30(8):1078-1085. Epub 2017 May 26.

Division of Breast and Gynecologic Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Magee Equations were derived as an inexpensive, rapid alternative to Oncotype DX. The Magee Equation 3 utilizes immunohistochemical and FISH data for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), HER2 and Ki-67 for its calculation (24.30812+ERIHC × (-0.02177)+PRIHC × (-0.02884)+(0 for HER2 negative, 1.46495 for equivocal, 12.75525 for HER2 positive)+Ki-67 × 0.18649). We hypothesize that Magee Equation 3 scores from pre-therapy core biopsy can predict response to neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy. A prospectively-maintained database of patients who received neoadjuvant systemic therapy from 2010 to 2014 at a single institution was retrospectively reviewed. Pathologic complete response was defined as absence of invasive tumor in the breast and regional lymph nodes. Of the 614 cases, tumors with missing immunohistochemical results and those that were ER negative or HER2 positive were excluded. This resulted in 237 ER positive, HER2 negative/equivocal tumors that formed the basis of this study. Magee Equation 3 scores were divided into 3 categories similar to Oncotype DX, ie, 0 to <18 (low), 18 to <31 (intermediate), and 31 or higher (high) scores. The pathologic complete response rate for low, intermediate and high Magee Equation 3 scores was 0%, 4%, and 36%, respectively. Patients with high Magee Equation 3 scores were 13 times more likely to achieve pathologic complete response compared to those with Magee Equation 3 scores less than 31 (95% CI 5.09-32.87, P<0.0001). For patients that did not achieve pathologic complete response, high Magee Equation 3 correlated with higher recurrence rate, with the majority occurring in patients with positive lymph nodes in the resection specimen. Magee Equation 3 score ≥31 predicts pathologic complete response in the neoadjuvant setting and for tumor recurrence, when pathologic complete response is not achieved. These results show the utility of Magee Equation 3 in predicting patients who will benefit from chemotherapy but warrant prospective multi-institutional validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/modpathol.2017.41DOI Listing
August 2017

An exploratory study of host polymorphisms in genes that clinically characterize breast cancer tumors and pretreatment cognitive performance in breast cancer survivors.

Breast Cancer (Dove Med Press) 2017 3;9:95-110. Epub 2017 Mar 3.

School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Purpose: Inspired by the hypothesis that heterogeneity in the biology of breast cancers at the cellular level may account for cognitive dysfunction symptom variability in survivors, the current study explored relationships between host single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 25 breast cancer-related candidate genes (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and ), identified from clinically relevant prognostic multigene-expression profiles for breast cancer, and pretreatment cognitive performance.

Patients And Methods: The sample (n=220) was comprised of 138 postmenopausal women newly diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and 82 postmenopausal age- and education-matched healthy controls without breast cancer. Cognitive performance was assessed after primary surgery but prior to initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy using a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests encompassing eight cognitive function composite domains: attention, concentration, executive function, mental flexibility, psychomotor speed, verbal memory, visual memory, and visual working memory. In total, 131 SNPs were included in the analysis. Standard and robust multiple linear regression modeling was used to examine relationships between each domain and the presence or absence of one or more minor alleles for each SNP. Genetic risk/protection scores (GRSs) were calculated for each domain to evaluate the collective effect of possession of multiple risk/protective alleles.

Results: With the exception of , , and , significant (<0.05) SNP main effect and/or SNP by future prescribed treatment group interactions were observed for every gene between at least one domain and one or more SNPs. All GRSs were found to be significantly (<0.001) associated with each respective domain score.

Conclusion: Associations between host SNPs and computed GRSs and variability in pretreatment cognitive function performance support the study hypothesis, and warrant further investigations to identify biomarkers for breast cancer-related cognitive dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/BCTT.S123785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5344452PMC
March 2017

Associations between pathologic tumor features and preadjuvant therapy cognitive performance in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Cancer Med 2017 02 13;6(2):339-348. Epub 2017 Jan 13.

University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Intertumor heterogeneity has been proposed as a potential mechanism to account for variability in cognitive performance in women diagnosed with breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to explore associations between variation in pathologic tumor features (PTFs) and variability in preadjuvant therapy cognitive performance in postmenopausal women newly diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Participants (N = 329) completed a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests to evaluate cognitive performance after primary surgery but prior to initiation of adjuvant anastrozole±chemotherapy. PTF data were abstracted from medical records. Robust multiple linear regression models were fit to estimate associations between individual PTFs and the cognitive function composite domain scores. All models controlled for age, estimated intelligence, and levels of depressive symptoms, anxiety, fatigue, and pain. Diagnosis of a HER2-positive tumor contributed to poorer verbal (b = -0.287, P = 0.018), visual (b = -0.270, P = 0.001), and visual working (b = -0.490, P < 0.001) memory performance compared to diagnosis of a HER2-negative tumor. Similarly, as HER2 immunohistochemistry classification score increased, verbal (b = -0.072, P = 0.093), visual (b = -0.081, P = 0.003), and visual working (b = -0.170, P < 0.001) memory performance score decreased. Associations with performance were also noted between location, focality/centricity, hormone receptor expression, cellular proliferation (i.e., Ki67), and Oncotype DX Breast Cancer Assay Recurrence Score .) Our results suggest that certain PTFs related to more aggressive tumor phenotypes or inferior breast cancer prognosis may be implicated in poorer preadjuvant therapy cognitive performance. Follow-up studies that include a cognitive assessment before primary surgery should be conducted to further delineate the role of intertumor heterogeneity on cognitive performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.964DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313647PMC
February 2017

Molecular drivers of lobular carcinoma in situ.

Breast Cancer Res 2015 Jun 4;17:76. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

Womens Cancer Research Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is considered to be a risk factor for the development of invasive breast carcinoma, but it may also be a non-obligate precursor to invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC). Many LCIS lesions do not progress to ILC, and the molecular changes that are necessary for progression from LCIS to ILC are poorly understood. Disruption in the E-cadherin complex is the hallmark of lobular lesions, but other signaling molecules, such as PIK3CA and c-src, are consistently altered in LCIS. This review focuses on the molecular drivers of lobular carcinoma, a more complete understanding of which may give perspective on which LCIS lesions progress, and which will not, thus having immense clinical implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-015-0580-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4453073PMC
June 2015

Evaluating breast lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates: a multiparameter immunohistochemical study, including assessment of IgG4.

Hum Pathol 2015 Aug 28;46(8):1162-70. Epub 2015 Apr 28.

Department of Pathology, Division of Hematopathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Electronic address:

Lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates in the breast, a modified skin appendage, include lymphocytic lobulitis, other nonspecific benign proliferations, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT)-type lymphoma. Distinguishing these entities, all of which may be B-cell rich and may have associated sclerosis, can be difficult. In addition, the proportion that represents IgG4-related disease is unknown, and the similarity of MALT lymphomas to primary cutaneous marginal zone lymphoma is uncertain. To address these questions, the clinical, histologic, and immunohistochemical features of 50 benign and malignant breast lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates (10 lymphocytic lobulitis, 1 granulomatous, 19 not otherwise specified, 20 MALT lymphomas) were evaluated. Compared with the MALT lymphomas, benign cases had a less dense infiltrate (P < .001), fewer but more histologically apparent germinal centers (P < .001), and more marked fibrosis (P < .0001). Greater than 60% B cells were present in 23% (7/30) benign cases versus 75% (15/20) MALT lymphomas (P = .0003). Plasma cells were predominantly IgG+ in 83% (24/29) benign cases and predominantly IgM+ in 73% (14/19) MALT lymphomas (P < .0001). None of the benign cases had greater than 50 IgG4+ plasma cells/high-power field, and only 1 lymphocytic lobulitis case had an IgG4/IgG ratio exceeding 40% and no clinical evidence for extramammary IgG4-related disease. Although there may be some overlapping features, routine histopathology together with limited immunohistochemical stains can distinguish benign from neoplastic lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates in the breast. Despite frequent sclerosis, the breast is not a common site of unrecognized IgG4-related sclerosing disease. Although there are similarities, breast MALT lymphomas can be separated from cutaneous marginal zone lymphoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.humpath.2015.04.006DOI Listing
August 2015

Low-grade fibromatosis-like spindle cell carcinoma of the breast.

Arch Pathol Lab Med 2015 Apr;139(4):552-7

From the Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Dwyer); and the Division of Breast and Gynecologic Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Clark).

Low-grade fibromatosis-like spindle cell carcinoma is a rare tumor in the breast, and represents a variant of the very heterogeneous group of metaplastic carcinomas of the breast. These tumors warrant distinction because of their resemblance to pure fibromatosis, their propensity for local recurrence, and their favorable prognosis among the metaplastic carcinomas of the breast. The diagnosis is potentially challenging, particularly on core needle biopsies, because of the morphologic overlap with other low-grade spindle cell lesions. Recognition of a proliferation of cytologically bland spindle cells with areas of epithelial differentiation in combination with immunohistochemistry using antibodies against cytokeratins and myoepithelial markers should aid in producing a definitive diagnosis. These tumors can be locally aggressive with an increased incidence of local recurrence, but the potential for lymph node or distant metastasis is low. Complete excision with adequate margins is considered curative in the majority of cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2013-0555-RSDOI Listing
April 2015

Immunohistochemical profile of breast cancer with respect to estrogen receptor and HER2 status.

Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol 2015 Mar;23(3):202-8

Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

There are a few studies that have evaluated a panel of stains on a single large data set of breast cancers, which is required for direct comparison between antibodies. The immunohistochemical panel in this study was chosen to include breast-specific markers and markers that are expressed in tumors resembling breast cancer. The individual marker positivity in decreasing order was 95% (177/186) for GATA-3, 92% (172/186) for cytokeratin (CK)7, 80% (151/189) for AR, 80% for estrogen receptor (158/198), 69% for progesterone receptor (137/198), 55% (105/190) for NY-BR-1, 52% (99/189) for mammaglobin, 31% (59/191) for vimentin, 26% (51/195) for GCDFP-15, 0.5% (1/186) for CK20, and 0% (0/188) for PAX-8. When tumors were categorized based on estrogen receptor and HER2 status; a total of 45 profiles were identified. In addition, some tumors showed an unconventional profile-although the majority of breast carcinomas were CK7-positive/CK20-negative, a CK7-negative/CK20-negative profile was seen in ∼8% of the cases. Such a profile can create confusion in investigation of a carcinoma of unknown origin. The results define the individual sensitivity of each marker and establish a baseline diagnostic profile of breast cancer in a large data set. In addition, the results support the use of immunohistochemical panel for confirming or determining breast as the source of metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAI.0000000000000076DOI Listing
March 2015

Semiquantitative GATA-3 immunoreactivity in breast, bladder, gynecologic tract, and other cytokeratin 7-positive carcinomas.

Am J Clin Pathol 2014 Jul;142(1):64-71

From Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Objectives: To evaluate GATA-3 immunohistochemical expression semiquantitatively in breast, gynecologic, gastric, pancreatic-biliary tract, urothelial, and vulvar/cervical squamous cell carcinomas.

Methods: GATA-3 expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in 198 invasive breast carcinomas on tissue microarrays. Tissue microarrays of other tissues included 144 gynecologic tumors, 28 bladder carcinomas, 63 cholangiocarcinomas, 20 pancreatic carcinomas, and 62 gastric carcinomas. Full tissue sections of 10 invasive squamous cell carcinomas were also stained. GATA-3 expression was semiquantitatively scored using an H-score method. H-score greater than 10 was considered a positive result.

Results: Of 186 breast carcinomas, 95% were positive (mean H-score of 217). GATA-3 expression was uncommon in 139 nonsquamous gynecologic tumors, with often weak reactivity (mean H-score <50) seen in 18% of endocervical, 7% of endometrial, and 10% of ovarian tumors. Six (60%) of 10 squamous cell carcinomas expressed GATA-3 (mean H-score of 102). Of 22 urothelial carcinomas, 95% expressed GATA-3 (mean H-score of 170). A few cholangiocarcinomas (3%), pancreatic adenocarcinomas (10%), and gastric carcinomas (2%) weakly expressed GATA-3 (mean H-score <50).

Conclusions: Strong GATA-3 expression is a reliable marker of primary breast carcinoma in the appropriate clinical context. GATA-3 reactivity in around 70% of triple-negative breast carcinomas is also clinically useful. Significant reactivity in gynecologic squamous cell carcinomas suggests that GATA-3 alone cannot reliably distinguish these tumors from urothelial carcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/AJCP8H2VBDSCIOBFDOI Listing
July 2014

Comparison of AlloDerm and AlloMax tissue incorporation in rats.

Ann Plast Surg 2014 Sep;73(3):282-5

From the *Department of Surgery, †Department of Pathology, and ‡Clinical Investigation Facility, David Grant USAF Medical Center, Travis AFB, CA; and §Division of Plastic Surgery, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA.

Background: Human acellular dermal matrices (HADMs) are used in a variety of settings. AlloMax is a new HADM currently being used for breast reconstruction and hernia repair. We compared the in vivo tissue integration of AlloMax to AlloDerm, a well-studied HADM, in rats.

Methods: We implanted AlloDerm and AlloMax patches into subcutaneous pockets on the backs of 32 male Sprague-Dawley rats. The animals were killed after either 4 or 8 weeks, and the patches were recovered and stained for histopathologic analyses. Microscopic end points included patch thickness, vascularization, tissue in-growth, fibroblast proliferation, and inflammation.

Results: All animals completed the study without complications or infection. There were no significant differences in graft thicknesses at 4 and 8 weeks. Microscopically, at 4 weeks, AlloDerm sections had significantly more microvessels than AlloMax (P = 0.02). This disparity increased by 8 weeks (P < 0.01). Similarly, we found greater tissue in-growth and fibroblast proliferation in AlloDerm than AlloMax sections at 4 (P < 0.01) and at 8 (P < 0.01) weeks. Inflammatory infiltrates consisted of lymphocytes, histiocytes, eosinophils, and plasma cells. Deep graft infiltration by predominately lymphocytic inflammatory cells was significantly higher in AlloDerm than AlloMax grafts at 4 (P = 0.01) and 8 (P = 0.02) weeks. Graft necrosis was uncommon, but marginal fibrosis was similar in both.

Conclusions: AlloDerm grafts had greater neovascularization, tissue infiltration, fibroblast proliferation, and inflammatory reaction than AlloMax grafts when placed subcutaneously in rats. AlloDerm may be better incorporated than AlloMax when placed in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SAP.0b013e31827a2d00DOI Listing
September 2014

Impact of progesterone receptor semiquantitative immunohistochemical result on Oncotype DX recurrence score: a quality assurance study of 1074 cases.

Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol 2013 Jul;21(4):287-91

Department of Pathology, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Decreased or absent progesterone receptor expression in invasive breast carcinoma is a marker for an adverse prognosis. As part of an ongoing quality assurance study, this study evaluated the relationship between Oncotype DX recurrence score and progesterone receptor immunohistochemical result within each Nottingham tumor grade in 1074 cases of invasive breast carcinoma for which an Oncotype DX recurrence score was available. In addition to a statistically significant association between Nottingham grade and Oncotype DX recurrence score categories (P < 0.001), an inverse relationship was identified between progesterone receptor expression measured by modified H-score semiquantitation and Oncotype DX recurrence score that was independent of Nottingham tumor grade. The Oncotype DX recurrence score relies heavily on parameters already available from routine pathologic examination, and consideration of progesterone receptor status may aid in selection of patients most likely to benefit from ancillary testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAI.0b013e31826f80c9DOI Listing
July 2013

Preliminary study of the effects of smectite granules (WoundStat) on vascular repair and wound healing in a swine survival model.

J Trauma 2010 Nov;69(5):1203-9

Division of Trauma and Emergency Surgery, Department of Surgery, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.

Background: WoundStat (WS) (TraumaCure, Bethesda, MD) is a topical hemostatic agent that effectively stops severe hemorrhage in animal models. To the best of our knowledge, no survival study has been conducted to ensure long-term product safety. We evaluated vascular patency and tissue responses to WS in a swine femoral artery injury model with survival up to 5 weeks.

Methods: Anesthetized swine received a standardized femoral artery injury with free hemorrhage for 45 seconds followed by WS application. One hour after application, the WS was removed, the wound copiously irrigated, and the artery repaired using a vein patch. Six groups of three animals received WS and were killed either immediately after surgery or at weekly intervals up to 5 weeks. Three control animals were treated with gauze packing and direct pressure followed by identical vascular repair and survival for 1 week. At the time of killing, angiograms were performed, and tissue was collected for histopathology.

Results: Hemostasis was complete in all WS animals. All animals survived the procedure, and there were no clinically evident postoperative complications. Vascular repairs were angiographically patent in 15 of 18 animals (83%) receiving WS. Histopathologic examination of WS animals revealed severe diffuse fibrogranulomatous inflammation, early endothelial degeneration with subsequent intimal hyperplasia, moderate myocyte necrosis, and fibrogranulomatous nerve entrapment with axonal degeneration.

Conclusion: Although an effective hemostatic agent, WS use was associated with a substantial local inflammatory response and neurovascular changes up to 5 weeks postinjury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/TA.0b013e3181c452b5DOI Listing
November 2010

CD30 expression and proliferative fraction in nontransformed mycosis fungoides.

Am J Surg Pathol 2009 Dec;33(12):1860-8

Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The major differential diagnosis for a primary cutaneous T-cell lymphoproliferative disorder with CD30 (Ki-1) positivity includes primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma, lymphomatoid papulosis, pagetoid reticulosis and transformed mycosis fungoides (MF). Little is known, however, about CD30 expression in nontransformed MF, whether it simply reflects the proliferative fraction and if either CD30 staining or the proliferative fraction are of prognostic significance. Therefore, 47 nontransformed MF biopsies were stained for CD30 and Ki-67. The proportions of positive cells were determined and correlated with each other as well as with age, stage at diagnosis, maximum stage and survival. All cases had at least rare dermal CD30-positive cells. Higher percentages of dermal CD30 and Ki-67-positive cells were associated with a higher stage at diagnosis, and together with epidermal CD30, associated with a higher maximum stage. The proportion of CD30 and Ki-67-positive cells did not correlate with each other. Survivals were shorter if the dermal CD30 or epidermal or dermal Ki-67% were greater than the median (4.7%, 14%, 13%) and in patients of greater than or equal to 60 years of age or with a high stage. Dermal Ki-67 as a continuous variable was an independent prognostic indicator (P<0.001), as were dermal Ki-67 (P=0.004) and dermal CD30 (P=0.027) when analyzed as dichotomous variables but not stage. Therefore, CD30 expression is not restricted to transformed MF but higher levels of dermal CD30 expression and, even more so, dermal Ki-67 levels are independent adverse prognostic indicators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAS.0b013e3181bf677dDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3733448PMC
December 2009