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Predicting the response to neoadjuvant therapy for early-stage breast cancer: tumor-, blood-, and imaging-related biomarkers

Authors Tan W, Yang M, Yang H, Zhou F, Shen W

Received 17 May 2018

Accepted for publication 11 July 2018

Published 9 October 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 4333—4347


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo

Wenyong Tan,1,2 Ming Yang,3 Hongli Yang,2 Fangbin Zhou,2 Weixi Shen1

1Department of Oncology, Shenzhen Hospital of Southern Medical University, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China; 2Clinical Medical Research Center, The Second Clinical Medical College (Shenzhen People Hospital), Jinan University, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China; 3Shenzhen Jingmai Medical Scientific and Technique Company, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) has been used increasingly in patients with locally advanced or early-stage breast cancer. However, the accurate evaluation and prediction of response to NAT remain the great challenge. Biomarkers could prove useful to identify responders or nonresponders, or even to distinguish between early and delayed responses. These biomarkers could include markers from the tumor itself, such as versatile proteins, genes, and ribonucleic acids, various biological factors or peripheral blood cells, and clinical and pathological features. Possible predictive markers could also include multiple features from functional imaging, such as standard uptake values in positron emission tomography, apparent diffusion coefficient in magnetic resonance, or radiomics imaging biomarkers. In addition, cells that indirectly present the immune status of tumor cells and/or their host could also potentially be used as biomarkers, eg, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, tumor-associated macrophages, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Though numerous biomarkers have been widely investigated, only estrogen and/or progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor have been proven to be reliable biomarkers to predict the response to NAT. They are the only biomarkers recommended in several international guidelines. The other aforementioned biomarkers warrant further validation studies. Some multigene profiling assays that are commercially available, eg, Oncotype DX and MammaPrint, should be used with caution when extrapolated to NAT settings. A panel of combined multilevel biomarkers might be able to predict the response to NAT more robustly than individual biomarkers. To establish such a panel and its prediction model, reliable methods and extensive clinical validation are warranted.

Keywords: breast cancer, drug therapy, biomarker, predictive factor

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