Characteristics, behaviour and role of biomarkers in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer

Yutaro Goto, Aye Aye Thike, Clara Chong Hui Ong, Johnathan Xiande Lim, Nur Diyana Md Nasir, Huihua Li, Valerie Cui Yun Koh, Xiao Yang Chen, Joe Poh Sheng Yeong, Hironobu Sasano, Puay Hoon Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aims Characterising the factors responsible for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is of significant importance, considering its high mortality rate and scant data. In this study, we evaluated the characteristics, clinical behaviour and role of biomarkers (androgen receptor (AR), oestrogen receptor beta (ERβ) and p53) in metastatic TNBC. Methods Immunohistochemistry was performed for AR, ERβ and p53 on 125 primary TNBCs with known metastasis and correlated with clinicopathological parameters and outcome. AR and p53 mRNA profiling was also carried out on 34 tumours from the same series and correlated with outcomes. Results In this cohort, grade 3 and pT2 tumours predominated. The most common site for metastasis was the lung and pleura (41, 32.8%), and 15 (12.0%) cases demonstrated metastasis in multiple sites. Among these, 92% of tumours metastasised without preceding local recurrences. Five-and ten-year overall survival (OS) rates were 27% and 7.2%, while 5-and 10-year survival rates after metastasis were 9.6% and 3.2% respectively. AR, ERβ and p53 protein expressions were observed in 16%, 96.8% and 58.1% of tumours, respectively. A combinational phenotype of AR-ERβ+p53+ tumours was associated with poorer OS (HR 1.543, 95%CI 1.030 to 2.310, p=0.035). Higher AR mRNA levels were significantly associated with favourable OS (p=0.015) and survival after metastasis (p=0.027). Conclusions Metastatic TNBC harboured aggressive behaviour and displayed predominantly visceral metastasis with most metastatic events occurring without intervening local recurrences. A combinational phenotype of AR-ERβ+p53+ was significantly associated with poorer OS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1


  • Metastatic triple negative breast cancer
  • androgen receptor
  • estrogen receptor
  • outcomes
  • p53
  • protein and mRNA expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Characteristics, behaviour and role of biomarkers in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this