ER-Positive Luminal B Breast Cancers and Body Mass Index Inversely Associated With HER2 Expression

ER-Positive Luminal B Breast Cancers and Body Mass Index Inversely Associated With HER2 Expression

A recent study on genomic and transcriptomic profiling of luminal B breast cancer entitled “Anthropometric, metabolic and molecular determinants of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 expression in luminal b breast cancer” was published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology by Dr. Maddalena Barba and colleagues, Division of Medical Oncology B, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women in the world. It can be divided into four important subtypes based on biological markers: luminal A, luminal B, Triple negative/basal-like and HER2 over-expressing breast cancer. The Luminal A and B subtypes are both estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) and low-grade, with Luminal B tumors associated with an overall worst prognosis.

“Breast cancer is a complex disease. Such complexity is faithfully mirrored by its clinical phenomenology and etiopathogenesis, namely, the way several risk factors may combine according to mechanisms characterized by flexibility and heterogeneity with alternative and innovative patterns changing from patient to patient” said Dr. Maddalena Barba, in a news release.

In this study, the research team analyzed samples from 154 women with luminal B breast cancer from two Italian comprehensive cancer centres. The patients were characterized by their human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) condition (positive or negative), Body Mass Index (BMI) (<25 or ≥25), pre-treatment fasting glucose (<median value of 94 mg/dl or ≥94) and their level of hormone receptors were quantified and correlated with HER2 expression.

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Dr. Barba said that the expression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) has been extensively used as a biomarker for prescribing patients to the most adequate therapy and disease management. “This makes the evaluation of factors associated with HER2 expression particularly appealing to a research agenda” Dr. Barba added in the news release.

The researchers found that body mass index (a parameter linking obesity and insulin resistance) and estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) luminal B breast cancers are negatively correlated with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression. These findings, if confirmed, will facilitate the identification of breast cancer patient subgroups that may benefit from therapies specifically targeting insulin resistance.