Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 9813–9823 | Cite as

Cyclin E amplification, over-expression, and relapse-free survival in HER-2-positive primary breast cancer

  • Satu Luhtala
  • Synnöve Staff
  • Minna Tanner
  • Jorma Isola
Original Article


Cyclin E is a well-characterized cell cycle regulator and an amplified oncogene in breast cancer. Over-expression of cyclin E has generally been associated with poor survival. Recent studies have shown an interaction between HER-2 (ERBB2) and cyclin E, but the exact mechanism is unknown. Interestingly, cyclin E over-expression has been associated with trastuzumab resistance. We studied cyclin E over-expression, CCNE1 amplification, and relapse-free survival in HER-2-positive primary breast cancers treated with and without trastuzumab therapy. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 202 HER-2-positive breast carcinomas were studied. Expression levels of cyclin E and proliferation marker Ki-67 were determined using immunohistochemistry. Chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) with a gene-specific bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) probe was used to analyze presence of CCNE1 amplification. Majority of HER-2-positive breast carcinomas exhibited nuclear staining for cyclin E protein. Cyclin E was highly expressed (≥50 % cells) in 37 % of cases. Incidence of CCNE1 amplification (≥6 gene copies/cell or clusters) was 8 %. Cyclin E amplification and over-expression were strongly associated with each other, grade, hormone receptors, and Ki-67. Neither high cyclin E expression nor CCNE1 amplification was associated with relapse-free survival (RFS) irrespective of short-term (9-week regimen) adjuvant trastuzumab therapy. These results confirm cyclin E and HER-2 gene co-amplification in a fraction of HER-2-positive breast cancers. Cyclin E is frequently over-expressed but appears to have limited value as a prognostic or predictive factor in HER-2-positive breast cancer regardless of trastuzumab therapy.


Cyclin E CCNE1 Immunohistochemistry Breast cancer HER-2 Survival 



Authors would like to thank Mrs. Sari Toivola and Mrs. Kristiina Salonoja for their excellent technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the local ethics committee (R07082).

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satu Luhtala
    • 1
  • Synnöve Staff
    • 1
    • 2
  • Minna Tanner
    • 3
  • Jorma Isola
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cancer Biology, BioMediTechUniversity of TampereTampereFinland
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyTampere University HospitalTampereFinland
  3. 3.Department of OncologyTampere University HospitalTampereFinland

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