Gene expression profiles of inflammatory breast cancer: Correlation with response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and metastasis-free survival

F. Bertucci, N. T. Ueno, P. Finetti, P. Vermeulen, A. Lucci, F. M. Robertson, M. Marsan, T. Iwamoto, S. Krishnamurthy, H. Masuda, P. Van Dam, W. A. Woodward, M. Cristofanilli, J. M. Reuben, L. Dirix, P. Viens, W. F. Symmans, D. Birnbaum, S. J. Van Laere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is an aggressive disease. To date, no molecular feature reliably predicts either the response to chemotherapy (CT) or the survival. Using DNA microarrays, we searched for multigene predictors. Patients and methods: The World IBC Consortium generated whole-genome expression profiles of 137 IBC and 252 non-IBC (nIBC) samples. We searched for transcriptional profiles associated with pathological complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant anthracycline-based CT and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) in respective subsets of 87 and 106 informative IBC samples. Correlations were investigated with predictive and prognostic gene expression signatures published in nIBC (nIBC-GES). Supervised analyses tested genes and activation signatures of 19 biological pathways and 234 transcription factors. Results: Three of five tested prognostic nIBC-GES and the two tested predictive nIBC-GES discriminated between IBC with and without pCR, as well as two interferon activation signatures. We identified a 107-gene signature enriched for immunity-related genes that distinguished between responders and nonresponders in IBC. Its robustness was demonstrated by external validation in three independent sets including two IBC sets and one nIBC set, with independent significant predictive value in IBC and nIBC validation sets in multivariate analysis. We found no robust signature associated with DMFS in patients with IBC, and neither of the tested prognostic GES, nor the molecular subtypes were informative, whereas they were in our nIBC series (220 stage I-III informative samples). Conclusion: Despite the relatively small sample size, we show that response to neoadjuvant CT in IBC is, as in nIBC, associated with immunity-related processes, suggesting that similar mechanisms responsible for pCR exist. Analysis of a larger IBC series is warranted regarding the correlation of gene expression profiles and DMFS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbermdt496
Pages (from-to)358-365
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Profiling
  • Prognosis
  • Response to chemotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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