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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 

Breast cancer after mantle irradiation for Hodgkin's disease: correlation of clinical, pathologic, and molecular features including loss of heterozygosity at BRCA1 and BRCA2.

PURPOSE: Hodgkin's disease patients who receive mantle irradiation have an age-dependent increased risk of developing breast cancer. To determine if genetic factors predispose these patients to develop breast cancer, we evaluated breast cancer specimens for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at regions where BRCA1 and BRCA2, two breast cancer tumor suppressor genes, are located. We also evaluated whether breast cancers in patients who were previously treated with radiation have a more aggressive phenotype, and whether the clinical course differed from a sporadic group of breast cancer patients. METHODS AND MATERIALS: All females with Hodgkin's disease who were subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer and for whom tissue blocks were available were included. Using a case-control design, case patients (previously treated with radiation therapy) were matched with sporadic control breast cancer patients for age, breast cancer stage, and date of breast cancer diagnosis. After microdissection of tumor and normal tissue from paraffin-embedded tissue blocks, DNA was extracted and samples were examined for LOH at chromosomal segments encompassing BRCA1 and BRCA2. Breast cancer specimens were also evaluated in a blinded fashion for tumor grade and immunoreactivity to estrogen and progesterone receptors, p53, her2-neu, and topoisomerase II alpha. Comparisons were made between the case and control populations using chi2 analysis, and a paired Student's t test. Survival differences were evaluated using a log-rank test. RESULTS: From January 1960 to December 1983, 917 patients were diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Twelve patients were subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer and tissue blocks were available on 10 cases. No statistical difference was observed between the case and control populations for LOH at BRCA1 or BRCA2. In the Hodgkin's disease group, LOH was observed in 30% of tumors at BRCA1 and 10% of tumors at BRCA2 vs. 10% and 0% of tumors in the control group at BRCA1 and BRCA2, respectively. Breast tumors from patients who received radiation therapy for Hodgkin's disease displayed greater nuclear pleomorphism (p < 0.02), and an increase in topoisomerase II alpha expression (p < 0.05) vs. the control population. Five of 10 patients were pregnant at the time of their Hodgkin's treatment, and those patients had a shorter time interval to the development of breast cancer compared with the patients who were not pregnant (12.4 years compared with 18.6 years). There was no significant difference in disease-free survival; however, overall survival was inferior in the population previously treated with radiation therapy for Hodgkin's disease (p = 0.01). 80% of patients with a previous Hodgkin's diagnosis died of breast cancer or treatment related effects vs. 30% in the control group. CONCLUSION: We were unable to find statistical evidence for LOH at BRCA1 and BRCA2 in breast cancers from patients previously irradiated for Hodgkin's disease. Breast cancer diagnosed after mantle irradiation may be more biologically aggressive based on the greater nuclear pleomorphism and increase in topoisomerase II alpha staining. This did not translate into a statistical difference in breast cancer disease-free survival; however, overall survival was significantly inferior in the Hodgkin's disease patients.[1]

References

  1. Breast cancer after mantle irradiation for Hodgkin's disease: correlation of clinical, pathologic, and molecular features including loss of heterozygosity at BRCA1 and BRCA2. Gaffney, D.K., Hemmersmeier, J., Holden, J., Marshall, J., Smith, L.M., Avizonis, V., Tran, T., Neuhausen, S.L. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. (2001) [Pubmed]
 
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