Clinical significance of cyclin D1 expression in patients with node-positive breast carcinoma treated with adjuvant therapy

P. Pelosio, M. Barbareschi, E. Bonoldi, A. Marchetti, P. Verderio, O. Caffo, P. Bevilacqua, P. Boracchi, F. Buttitta, R. Barbazza, P. Dalla Palma, G. Gasparini

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Background: Experimental and clinical studies suggest that cyclin D1 is involved in transformation and tumour progression. However, there is little and contradictory data on the clinical significance of cyclin D1 in human invasive breast carcinoma. Patients and methods: We investigated whether the determination of cyclin D1 has prognostic value in a series of 180 patients with node-positive breast carcinoma and treated with adjuvant therapy with a median follow-up exceeding 6 years. We assessed cyclin D1 expression using the CDS-6 monoclonal antibody and a highly sensitive immunohistochemical technique. Results: We found that most of the evaluable tumours (117 of 167; 70.1%) presented nuclear cyclin D1 staining and that its expression was significantly associated with both the hormone receptors (P = 0.009 and P = 0.005 for ER and PgR, respectively). Furthermore, 29 (17%) of 167 tumours had a weak (15 cases) or strong (9 cases) cytoplasmic cyclin D1 staining. In a subgroup of cases we also studied the amplification of the cyclin D1 gene and a moderate agreement between cyclin D1 nuclear overexpression assessed immunohistochemically and the gene amplification was found. In univariate analysis, cyclin D1 nuclear positivity was significantly associated with improved 6-year relapse-free survival (RFS) (P = 0.004), but not with overall survival (OS) (P = 0.12). The results of the Cox multivariate analysis (final model) indicate that cyclin D1 expression (P = 0.0049) as well as the number of involved nodes (P <0.001) and tumour size (P = 0.036) are significant prognostic indicators for RFS. Only the number of involved nodes retained significance (P <0.001) for OS in our series. The joint assessment of the variables considered in the final model of the multivariate analyses had a moderate prognostic capability as determined using the Harrell c statistic (c = 0.66 and 0.64 for RFS and OS, respectively). Conclusions: The patients with node-positive breast cancer who have a higher likelihood of gaining benefit from adjuvant therapy are those with tumours with cyclin D1 nuclear expression, small size and less than 3 metastatic nodes. Further studies are needed to verify the prognostic value of cyclin D1 in relation to different adjuvant treatments and to deepen the biological pathways that regulate its activation/suppression in human breast carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-703
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1996


  • Breast cancer
  • Cyclin D1
  • p53
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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