Increased gene copy number of KIT and VEGFR2 at 4q12 in primary breast cancer is related to an aggressive phenotype and impaired prognosis.

Ida Johansson, Kristina Aaltonen, Anna Ebbesson, Dorthe Grabau, Caroline Wigerup, Ingrid Hedenfalk, Lisa Rydén

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24 Citations (SciVal)


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is associated with poor prognosis and no targeted treatments are available for TNBC. Drugs inhibiting tyrosine kinases, such as vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) and KIT, have shown some promising results for patients with TNBC. The aim of the study was to investigate whether gains and/or amplifications of VEGFR2 and KIT, located at 4q12, occur in TNBC. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was used to quantify gene copy numbers of VEGFR2 and KIT in 83 primary human breast cancers including 31 TNBCs. Gains were defined as ≥4 gene copies in >40% of the cancer cells, whereas amplification was defined as CEP >2 in more than 10% of the cancer cells. A tumor was considered FISH positive for KIT and/or VEGFR2 if it displayed copy number gain and/or amplification. Ten (32%) of the TNBCs were VEGFR2 FISH positive and nine (29%) were KIT FISH positive, whereas non-TNBCs were FISH positive for VEGFR2 and KIT in nine (18%) cases for both genes, but no significant difference between TNBCs and non-TNBCs was found. FISH positivity for VEGFR2 and KIT was significantly correlated (χ(2) test, P < 0.001), and significantly related to ER negativity and high Nottingham histological grade (NHG). A significantly worse 5-year breast cancer specific survival (BCSS) was seen for FISH positive cases. Increased copy number of VEGFR2 and KIT thus has the potential of functioning as a novel predictive biomarker for selected targeted therapy particularly in the difficult-to-treat TNBC patient category. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-383
JournalGenes, Chromosomes and Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Surgery (Lund) (013009000), Molecular Medicine (013031200), Oncology, MV (013035000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology


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