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MCM2: An alternative to Ki-67 for measuring breast cancer cell proliferation.

Yousef EM, Furrer D, Laperriere DL, Tahir MR, Mader S, Diorio C, Gaboury LA

Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease comprising a diversity of tumor subtypes that manifest themselves in a wide variety of clinical, pathological, and molecular features. One important subset, luminal breast cancers, comprises two clinically distinct subtypes luminal A and B each of them endowed with its own genetic program of differentiation and proliferation. Luminal breast cancers were operationally defined as follows: Luminal A: ER+, PR+, HER2-, Ki-67<14% and Luminal B: ER+ and/or PR+, HER2-,Ki-67≥14% or, alternatively ER+ and/or PR+, HER2+, any Ki-67. There is currently a need for a clinically robust and validated immunohistochemical assay that can help distinguish between luminal A and B breast cancer. MCM2 is a family member of the minichromosome maintenance protein complex whose role in DNA replication and cell proliferation is firmly established. As MCM2 appears to be an attractive alternative to Ki-67, we sought to study the expression of MCM2 and Ki-67 in different histological grades and molecular subtypes of breast cancer focusing primarily on ER-positive tumors. MCM2 and Ki-67 mRNA expression were studied using in silico analysis of available DNA microarray and RNA-sequencing data of human breast cancer. We next used immunohistochemistry to evaluate protein expression of MCM2 and Ki-67 on tissue microarrays of invasive breast carcinoma. We found that MCM2 and Ki-67 are highly expressed in breast tumors of high histological grades, comprising clinically aggressive tumors such as triple-negative, HER2-positive and luminal B subtypes. MCM2 expression was detected at higher levels than that of Ki-67 in normal breast tissues and in breast cancers. The bimodal distribution of MCM2 scores in ER+/HER2- breast tumors led to the identification of two distinct subgroups with different relapse-free survival rates. In conclusion, MCM2 expression can help sorting out two clinically important subsets of luminal breast cancer whose treatment and clinical outcomes are likely to diverge.

Mod. Pathol. 2017;30(5):682-697.

Pubmed ID: 28084344

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