Performance of Three-Biomarker Immunohistochemistry for Intrinsic Breast Cancer Subtyping in the AMBER Consortium.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Classification of breast cancer into intrinsic subtypes has clinical and epidemiologic importance. To examine accuracy of IHC-based methods for identifying intrinsic subtypes, a three-biomarker IHC panel was compared with the clinical record and RNA-based intrinsic (PAM50) subtypes. METHODS: Automated scoring of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and HER2 was performed on IHC-stained tissue microarrays comprising 1,920 cases from the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) consortium. Multiple cores (1-6/case) were collapsed to classify cases, and automated scoring was compared with the clinical record and to RNA-based subtyping. RESULTS: Automated analysis of the three-biomarker IHC panel produced high agreement with the clinical record (93% for ER and HER2, and 88% for PR). Cases with low tumor cellularity and smaller core size had reduced agreement with the clinical record. IHC-based definitions had high agreement with the clinical record regardless of hormone receptor positivity threshold (1% vs. 10%), but a 10% threshold produced highest agreement with RNA-based intrinsic subtypes. Using a 10% threshold, IHC-based definitions identified the basal-like intrinsic subtype with high sensitivity (86%), although sensitivity was lower for luminal A, luminal B, and HER2-enriched subtypes (76%, 40%, and 37%, respectively). CONCLUSION: Three-biomarker IHC-based subtyping has reasonable accuracy for distinguishing basal-like from nonbasal-like, although additional biomarkers are required for accurate classification of luminal A, luminal B, and HER2-enriched cancers. IMPACT: Epidemiologic studies relying on three-biomarker IHC status for subtype classification should use caution when distinguishing luminal A from luminal B and when interpreting findings for HER2-enriched cancers.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Allott, EH; Cohen, SM; Geradts, J; Sun, X; Khoury, T; Bshara, W; Zirpoli, GR; Miller, CR; Hwang, H; Thorne, LB; O'Connor, S; Tse, C-K; Bell, MB; Hu, Z; Li, Y; Kirk, EL; Bethea, TN; Perou, CM; Palmer, JR; Ambrosone, CB; Olshan, AF; Troester, MA

Published Date

  • March 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 470 - 478

PubMed ID

  • 26711328

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4779705

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-7755

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0874


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States