Prognostic and predictive importance of the estrogen receptor coactivator AIB1 in a randomized trial comparing adjuvant letrozole and tamoxifen therapy in postmenopausal breast cancer: the Danish cohort of BIG 1-98

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Purpose: To evaluate the estrogen receptor coactivator amplified in breast cancer 1 (AIB1) as a prognostic marker, as well as a predictive marker for response to adjuvant tamoxifen and/or aromatase inhibitors, in early estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Method: AIB1 was analyzed with immunohistochemistry in tissue microarrays of the Danish subcohort (N = 1396) of the International Breast Cancer Study Group’s trial BIG 1-98 (randomization between adjuvant tamoxifen versus letrozole versus the sequence of the two drugs). Results: Forty-six percent of the tumors had a high AIB1 expression. In line with previous studies, AIB1 correlated to a more aggressive tumor-phenotype (HER2 amplification and a high malignancy grade). High AIB1 also correlated to higher estrogen receptor expression (80–100 vs. 1–79%), and ductal histological type. High AIB1 expression was associated with a poor disease-free survival (univariable: hazard ratio 1.35, 95% confidence interval 1.12–1.63. Multivariable: hazard ratio 1.29, 95% confidence interval 1.06–1.58) and overall survival (univariable: hazard ratio 1.34, 95% confidence interval 1.07–1.68. Multivariable: hazard ratio 1.25, 95% confidence interval 0.99–1.60). HER2 did not seem to modify the prognostic effect of AIB1. No difference in treatment effect between tamoxifen and letrozole in relation to AIB1 was found. Conclusions: In a subset of the large international randomized trial BIG 1-98, we confirm AIB1 to be a strong prognostic factor in early breast cancer. Hence, although tumor AIB1 expression does not seem to be useful for the choice of tamoxifen versus an aromatase inhibitor in postmenopausal endocrine-responsive breast cancer, AIB1 is an interesting target for new anti-cancer therapies and further investigations of this biomarker is warranted.


External organisations
  • Copenhagen University Hospital
  • Herlev Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology


  • Amplified in breast cancer 1 (AIB1), Aromatase inhibitor, BIG 1-98, Breast cancer, Randomized trial, Tamoxifen
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-490
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch