, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 325-333
Date: 11 Jul 2012

Analysis of clinically relevant values of Ki-67 labeling index in Japanese breast cancer patients

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Abstract

Background

It has become important to standardize the methods of Ki-67 evaluation in breast cancer patients, especially those used in the interpretation and scoring of immunoreactivity. Therefore, in this study, we examined the Ki-67 immunoreactivity of breast cancer surgical specimens processed and stained in the same manner in one single Japanese institution by counting nuclear immunoreactivity in the same fashion.

Methods

We examined 408 Japanese breast cancers with invasive ductal carcinoma and studied the correlation between Ki-67 labeling index and ER/HER2 status and histological grade of breast cancer. We also analyzed overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) of these patients according to individual Ki-67 labeling index.

Results

There were statistically significant differences of Ki-67 labeling index between ER positive/HER2 negative and ER positive/HER2 positive, ER negative/HER2 positive or ER negative/HER2 negative, and ER positive/HER2 positive and ER negative/HER2 negative groups (all P < 0.001). There were also statistically significant differences of Ki-67 labeling index among each histological grade (P < 0.001, respectively). As for multivariate analyses, Ki-67 labeling index was strongly associated with OS (HR 39.12, P = 0.031) and DFS (HR 10.85, P = 0.011) in ER positive and HER2 negative breast cancer patients. In addition, a statistically significant difference was noted between classical luminal A group and “20 % luminal A” in DFS (P = 0.039) but not between classical luminal A group and “25 % luminal A” (P = 0.105).

Conclusions

A significant positive correlation was detected between Ki-67 labeling index and ER/HER2 status and histological grades of the cases examined in our study. The suggested optimal cutoff point of Ki-67 labeling index is between 20 and 25 % in ER positive and HER2 negative breast cancer patients.