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Prevalence of ESR1 Mutation in Chinese ER-Positive Breast Cancer

Authors Zhu W, Ren C, Wang Y, Wen L, Zhang G, Liao N

Received 7 October 2019

Accepted for publication 19 December 2019

Published 21 January 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 615—621


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr XuYu Yang

Wenzhen Zhu,* Chongyang Ren,* Yulei Wang, Lingzhu Wen, Guochun Zhang, Ning Liao

Department of Breast Cancer, Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital & Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, 510080, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Ning Liao
Department of Breast Cancer, Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital & Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, 106 Zhongshan Er Road, Guangzhou 510080, People’s Republic of China

Background: ESR1 mutation and its possible relation to endocrine therapy resistance in ER-positive breast cancers have been studied with respect to genetic sequencing data from Western patients but rarely from Chinese patients. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of ESR1 mutation in Chinese primary and metastatic ER-positive breast cancer.
Methods: Tumor samples from 297 primary breast cancer (PBC) patients and blood samples from 43 metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients were obtained to perform whole exon sequencing of the ESR1 gene through next-generation sequencing (NGS). Clinicopathological features of MBC patients were listed and grouped to explore potential factors in ESR1 mutations.
Results: A total of 15 ESR1 variations, including 11 point mutations, 1 in-frame deletion mutation, 1 synonymous mutation, and 2 amplifications were identified in 13 patients. The ESR1 mutation rate was 1% (3/297) in PBC patients and 18.6% (8/43) in MBC patients. All ESR1 point mutations occurred in the estrogen receptor ligand-binding domain. Six (54.5%) of the 11 point mutations were hotspot mutations. Among all MBC patients, the ESR1 mutation rate in those who had a treatment history using aromatase inhibitors (AI) was significantly higher than those who did not (25.8% versus 0%, P=0.015). Moreover, the ESR1 mutation rate in those who received AI treatment over a period of 12 months was significantly higher than in those whose treatment lasted less than 12 months [36.3% versus 0%, P< 0.001].
Conclusion: ESR1 mutations were more frequently observed in the circulating cell-free DNA of MBC patients than in PBC patients among the Chinese cohort, and higher among those pretreated with AI, suggesting that such mutations may undergo selection during AI treatment.

Keywords: breast cancer, ESR1 mutation, endocrine therapy resistance, NGS, aromatase inhibitors

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