Relationship of Ki-67 index in biopsies of metastatic breast cancer tissue and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) at the time of biopsy collection

  • Thomas M Deutsch
  • Chiara Fischer
  • Fabian Riedel
  • Kathrin Haßdenteufel
  • Laura L Michel
  • Marc Sütterlin
  • Sabine Riethdorf
  • Klaus Pantel
  • Markus Wallwiener
  • Andreas Schneeweiss
  • Stefan Stefanovic

Beteiligte Einrichtungen


BACKGROUND: The proliferation marker Ki-67 is a major pathological feature for the description of the state of disease in breast cancer. It helps to define the molecular subtype and to stratify between therapy regimens in early breast cancer and helps to assess the therapy response. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are a negative prognostic biomarker for progression free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Therefore, the CTC count is often described as surrogate for the tumor burden. Both, decrease of Ki-67 and CTC count are considered as evidence for therapy response. The presented work analyzed the correlation between the Ki-67 indices of metastatic tissue biopsies and CTC counts in biopsy time-adjacent peripheral blood samples.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Blood samples from 70 metastatic breast cancer patients were obtained before the start of a new line of systemic therapy. CTCs were enumerated using CellSearch® (Menarini Silicon Biosystems, Bologna, Italy) whereas intact CTCs (iCTCs) and non-intact or apoptotic CTCs (aCTCs) were distinguished using morphologic criteria. The proportion of cells expressing Ki-67 was evaluated using immunohistochemistry on biopsies of metastases obtained concurrently with CTC sampling before the start of a new line of systemic therapy.

RESULTS: 65.7% of patients had a Ki-67 index of > 25%. 28.6% of patients had ≥ 5, 47.1% ≥ 1 iCTCs. 37.1% had ≥ 5, 51.4% ≥ 1 aCTCs. No correlation was shown between Ki-67 index and iCTC and aCTC count (r = 0.05 resp. r = 0.05, Spearman's correlation index). High CTC-counts did not coincide with high Ki-67 index. High Ki-67, ≥ 5 iCTCs and aCTCs are associated with poor progression free (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

CONCLUSION: CTCs and Ki-67 are independent prognostic markers in metastatic breast cancer. High Ki-67 in metastatic tumor tissue is not correlated to high iCTC or aCTC counts in peripheral blood.

Bibliografische Daten

StatusVeröffentlicht - 01.2024

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© 2023. The Author(s).

PubMed 37480379