• Impact of the menstrual cycle on commercial prognostic gene signatures in oestrogen receptor-positive primary breast cancer

      Sibbering, Mark (2021)
      Purpose: Changes occur in the expression of oestrogen-regulated and proliferation-associated genes in oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast tumours during the menstrual cycle. We investigated if Oncotype® DX recurrence score (RS), Prosigna® (ROR) and EndoPredict® (EP/EPclin) prognostic tests, which include some of these genes, vary according to the time in the menstrual cycle when they are measured. Methods: Pairs of test scores were derived from 30 ER-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-negative tumours sampled at two different points of the menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycle windows were prospectively defined as either W1 (days 1-6 and 27-35; low oestrogen and low progesterone) or W2 (days 7-26; high oestrogen and high or low progesterone). Results: The invasion module score of RS was lower (- 10.9%; p = 0.098), whereas the ER (+ 16.6%; p = 0.046) and proliferation (+ 7.3%; p = 0.13) module scores were higher in W2. PGR expression was significantly increased in W2 (+ 81.4%; p = 0.0029). Despite this, mean scores were not significantly different between W1 and W2 for any of the tests and the two measurements showed high correlation (r = 0.72-0.93). However, variability between the two measurements led to tumours being assigned to different risk categories in the following proportion of cases: RS 22.7%, ROR 27.3%, EP 13.6% and EPclin 13.6%. Conclusion: There are significant changes during the menstrual cycle in the expression of some of the genes and gene module scores comprising the RS, ROR and EP/EPclin scores. These did not affect any of the prognostic scores in a systematic fashion, but there was substantial variability in paired measurements.