Characterization of molecular subtypes of Korean breast cancer: An ethnically and clinically distinct population
- Wonshik Han
- Monica Nicolau
- Dong-Young Noh
- Stefanie S. Jeffrey
Published online on: Thursday, July 1, 2010
We aimed to investigate the molecular characteristics of Korean breast cancer. A cDNA microarray study (>42k clones) was performed on 69 breast cancers and three normal breast tissues. The subjects had a high percentage of HER-2 expression, hormone receptor negativity, and young onset. Molecular subtypes according to gene expression profiles were determined and their correlations to the clinicopathologic characteristics and patients outcome were analyzed. The tumors were subdivided into luminal-, normal breast-like, ERBB2+, and basal-like subtypes according to the correlations to the previously described intrinsic genes and five centroids. Only a few tumors were highly correlated to the luminal B and normal-like centroids. The high grade tumors with high p53 and Ki-67 were found more commonly in non-luminal tumors. Distant recurrence-free survival was worse in ERBB2+ and basal-like subgroups than luminal tumors. In an unsupervised clustering with 864 genes, many interesting gene clusters were observed, some of which had not been previously described. Although the Korean breast cancers showed generally similar molecular phenotypes as Western studies, some distinct gene expression patterns and their association to clinical outcomes were observed.