Prognostic significance of biologic markers in node-negative breast cancer patients: A prospective study

A. Volpi, F. De Paola, O. Nanni, A. M. Granato, P. Bajorko, A. Becciolini, E. Scarpi, A. Riccobon, M. Balzi, D. Amadori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is generally thought that future advances in the treatment and cure of breast cancer patients will be made possible through a deeper understanding of tumor biology and an improved capability to define the prognosis of each single patient. This will lead to the formulation of new, more selective, and patient-tailored therapies. It is therefore important, when studying potential prognostic factors, to follow methodologic requirements and guidelines which involve the carrying out of prospective studies as confirmatory steps. Repeatedly or recently investigated prognostic markers (tumor size, menopausal status, ER, PgR, 3H thymidine labeling index, c-erbB-2 and p27 expression) were evaluated on a series of 286 prospectively recruited node negative breast cancer patients who underwent loco-regional treatment alone and were closely followed. The individual and relative prognostic contribution of each variable with respect to other factors, as well as their ability to identify node negative patients at risk, were assessed by univariate and multivariate analysis. At a five-year follow-up, only tumor size (p = 0.021) and TLI (p = 0.016) individually proved to be significant prognostic indicators of relapse-free survival. Conversely, p27 expression was not related to RFS and c-erbB-2 expression appeared to have only a short-term effect on patient prognosis. TLI and tumor size, tested in multivariate analysis along with ER and menopausal status, maintained their independent prognostic relevance. The study, performed on a large series of node-negative patients given loco-regional treatment alone, for the first time prospectively recruited, showed the prognostic relevance of TLI and its independence from other clinico-pathologic and biologic factors over a five-year period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Biologic markers
  • Node-negative breast cancer
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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