Tumor and serum DNA methylation in women receiving preoperative chemotherapy with or without vorinostat in TBCRC008

Roisin M. Connolly, Mary Jo Fackler, Zhe Zhang, Xian C. Zhou, Matthew P. Goetz, Judy C. Boughey, Bridget Walsh, John T. Carpenter, Anna Maria Storniolo, Stanley P. Watkins, Edward W. Gabrielson, Vered Stearns, Saraswati Sukumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Methylated gene markers have shown promise in predicting breast cancer outcomes and treatment response. We evaluated whether baseline and changes in tissue and serum methylation levels would predict pathological complete response (pCR) in patients with HER2-negative early breast cancer undergoing preoperative chemotherapy. Methods: The TBCRC008 trial investigated pCR following 12 weeks of preoperative carboplatin and albumin-bound paclitaxel + vorinostat/placebo (n = 62). We measured methylation of a 10-gene panel by quantitative multiplex methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction and expressed results as cumulative methylation index (CMI). We evaluated association between CMI level [baseline, day 15 (D15), and change] and pCR using univariate and multivariable logistic regression models controlling for treatment and hormone receptor (HR) status, and performed exploratory subgroup analyses. Results: In univariate analysis, one log unit increase in tissue CMI levels at D15 was associated with 40% lower chance of obtaining pCR (odds ratio, OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.37–0.97; p = 0.037). Subgroup analyses suggested a significant association between tissue D15 CMI levels and pCR in vorinostat-treated [OR 0.44 (0.20, 0.93), p = 0.03], but not placebo-treated patients. Conclusion: In this study investigating the predictive roles of tissue and serum CMI levels in patients with early breast cancer for the first time, we demonstrate that high D15 tissue CMI levels may predict poor response. Larger studies and improved analytical procedures to detect methylated gene markers in early stage breast cancer are needed. TBCRC008 is registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00616967).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Biomarkers
  • Breast cancer
  • Methylation
  • Preoperative chemotherapy
  • cMethDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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