Improved Prognostic Testing for Patients with Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Kaplan-Meier curve that stratifies patients in the training set based on the Immune Activation Score threshold that provides 95% specificity.

Approximately 40% of patients with stage I-III triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) have recurrences after standard treatment, whereas the remaining 60% experience long-term disease-free survival. However, there are currently no clinical tests to assess the risk of recurrence in TNBC patients. To address this issue, Varley and colleagues developed a multigene MHCII Immune Activation Assay to allow clinical testing for the prognosis of recurrence of triple-negative breast cancer patients. This assay identifies TNBC patients with a low risk of recurrence whose tumors express factors like MHC II pathway components, which promote immune infiltration and responses that reduce relapse and enhance survival. This work addressed a critical need for prognostic biomarker tests that enable precision medicine for TNBC patients.

KT Varley, PhD


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Expression of the MHC class II pathway in triple-negative breast cancer tumor cells is associated with a good prognosis and infiltrating lymphocytes. Forero A, Li Y, Chen D, Grizzle WE, Updike KL, Merz ND, Downs-Kelly E, Burwell TC, Vaklavas C, Buchsbaum DJ, Myers RM, LoBuglio AF, Varley KE. Cancer Immunol Res. 2016 May;4(5):390.

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A multigene assay determines risk of recurrence in patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Stewart RL, Updike KL, Factor RE, Henry NL, Boucher KM, Bernard PS, Varley KE. Cancer Res. 2019 Jul;79(13):3466.

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