Analysis of clinically relevant values of Ki-67 labeling index in Japanese breast cancer patients
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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.
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.
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).
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.
KeywordsKi-67 Breast cancer Cutoff point Estrogen receptor HER2 Histological grade
The authors appreciate the continuous excellent technical assistance of the staff in the Department of Pathology, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan, especially their uninterrupted laboratory service toward the care of breast cancer patients despite enormous and unprecedented damages inflicted upon glass slides and instruments such as tissue processors, cryostat instruments, and automatic stainers, and harsh working conditions such as continuous aftershocks, total blackout, and interruption of running water in our laboratory as a result of the 3/11 earthquake. This work was supported in part by a Grant-in Aid from the “Kurokawa Cancer Research Foundation”.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest.
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