Purpose: Breast cancer (BC) affects both genders, but is understudied in men. Although still rare, male BC is being diagnosed more frequently. Treatments are wholly informed by clinical studies conducted in women, based on assumptions that underlying biology is similar.
Experimental Design: A transcriptomic investigation of male and female BC was performed, confirming transcriptomic data in silico. Biomarkers were immunohistochemically assessed in 697 MBCs (n=477, training; n=220, validation set) and quantified in pre- and post-treatment samples from a male BC patient receiving Everolimus and PI3K/mTOR inhibitor.
Results: Gender-specific gene expression patterns were identified. eIF transcripts were up-regulated in MBC. eIF4E and eIF5 were negatively prognostic for overall survival alone (Log rank; p=0.013; HR=1.77, 1.12-2.8 and p=0.035; HR=1.68, 1.03-2.74, respectively), or when co-expressed (p=0.01; HR=2.66, 1.26-5.63), confirmed in the validation set. This remained upon multivariate Cox regression analysis (eIF4E p=0.016; HR 2.38 (1.18-4.8), eIF5 p=0.022; HR 2.55 (1.14-5.7); co-expression p=0.001; HR=7.04 (2.22-22.26)). Marked reduction in eIF4E and eIF5 expression was seen post BEZ235/Everolimus, with extended survival.
Conclusions: Translational initiation pathway inhibition could be of clinical utility in male BC patients overexpressing eIF4E and eIF5. With mTOR inhibitors which target this pathway now in the clinic, these biomarkers may represent new targets for therapeutic intervention, although further independent validation is required.
- breast cancer
- mTOR inhibitor