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Prognostic immune-related gene models for breast cancer: a pooled analysis

Authors Zhao J, Wang Y, Lao Z, Liang S, Hou J, Yu Y, Yao H, You N, Chen K

Received 14 June 2017

Accepted for publication 3 August 2017

Published 11 September 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 4423—4433


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yao Dai

Jianli Zhao,1,2,* Ying Wang,1,2,* Zengding Lao,3,* Siting Liang,3 Jingyi Hou,4 Yunfang Yu,1,2 Herui Yao,1,2 Na You,3 Kai Chen1,2

1Breast Tumor Center, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; 2Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China; 3School of Mathematics, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China; 4Department of Orthopedics, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Breast cancer, the most common cancer among women, is a clinically and biologically heterogeneous disease. Numerous prognostic tools have been proposed, including gene signatures. Unlike proliferation-related prognostic gene signatures, many immune-related gene signatures have emerged as principal biology-driven predictors of breast cancer. Diverse statistical methods and data sets were used for building these immune-related prognostic models, making it difficult to compare or use them in clinically meaningful ways. This study evaluated successfully published immune-related prognostic gene signatures through systematic validations of publicly available data sets. Eight prognostic models that were built upon immune-related gene signatures were evaluated. The performances of these models were compared and ranked in ten publicly available data sets, comprising a total of 2,449 breast cancer cases. Predictive accuracies were measured as concordance indices (C-indices). All tests of statistical significance were two-sided. Immune-related gene models performed better in estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) and lymph node-positive (LN+) breast cancer subtypes. The three top-ranked ER- breast cancer models achieved overall C-indices of 0.62–0.63. Two models predicted better than chance for ER+ breast cancer, with C-indices of 0.53 and 0.59, respectively. For LN+ breast cancer, four models showed predictive advantage, with C-indices between 0.56 and 0.61. Predicted prognostic values were positively correlated with ER status when evaluated using univariate analyses in most of the models under investigation. Multivariate analyses indicated that prognostic values of the three models were independent of known clinical prognostic factors. Collectively, these analyses provided a comprehensive evaluation of immune-related prognostic gene signatures. By synthesizing C-indices in multiple independent data sets, immune-related gene signatures were ranked for ER+, ER-, LN+, and LN- breast cancer subtypes. Taken together, these data showed that immune-related gene signatures have good prognostic values in breast cancer, especially for ER- and LN+ tumors.

Keywords: breast cancer, prognostic models, immune-related gene

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