Purpose: Epigenetic alterations measured in blood may help guide breast cancer treatment. The multisite prospective study TBCRC 005 was conducted to examine the ability of a novel panel of cell-free DNA methylation markers to predict survival outcomes in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) using a new quantitative multiplex assay (cMethDNA). Patients and Methods: Ten genes were tested in duplicate serum samples from 141 women at baseline, at week 4, and at first restaging. A cumulative methylation index (CMI) was generated on the basis of six of the 10 genes tested. Methylation cut points were selected to maximize the log-rank statistic, and crossvalidation was used to obtain unbiased point estimates. Logistic regression or Cox proportional hazard models were used to test associations between the CMI and progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and disease status at first restaging. The added value of the CMI in predicting survival outcomes was evaluated and compared with circulating tumor cells (CellSearch). Results: Median PFS and OS were significantly shorter in women with a high CMI (PFS, 2.1 months; OS, 12.3 months) versus a low CMI (PFS, 5.8 months; OS, 21.7 months). In multivariable models, among women with MBC, a high versus low CMI at week 4 was independently associated with worse PFS (hazard ratio, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.23 to 2.60; P = .002) and OS (hazard ratio, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.21 to 2.54; P = .003). An increase in the CMI from baseline to week 4 was associated with worse PFS (P < .001) and progressive disease at first restaging (P < .001). Week 4 CMI was a strong predictor of PFS, even in the presence of circulating tumor cells (P = .004). Conclusion: Methylation of this gene panel is a strong predictor of survival outcomes in MBC and may have clinical usefulness in risk stratification and disease monitoring.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research