Development and validation of prognostic gene signature for basal-like breast cancer and high-grade serous ovarian cancer

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3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Molecular similarities have been reported between basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) and high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). To date, there have been no prognostic biomarkers that can provide risk stratification and inform treatment decisions for both BLBC and HGSOC. In this study, we developed a molecular signature for risk stratification in BLBC and further validated this signature in HGSOC. Methods: RNA-seq data was downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project for 190 BLBC and 314 HGSOC patients. Analyses of differentially expressed genes between recurrent vs. non-recurrent cases were performed using different bioinformatics methods. Gene Signature was established using weighted linear combination of gene expression levels. Their prognostic performance was evaluated using survival analysis based on progression-free interval (PFI) and disease-free interval (DFI). Results: 63 genes were differentially expressed between 18 recurrent and 40 non-recurrent BLBC patients by two different methods. The recurrence index (RI) calculated from this 63-gene signature significantly stratified BLBC patients into two risk groups with 38 and 152 patients in the low-risk (RI-Low) and high-risk (RI-High) groups, respectively (p = 0.0004 and 0.0023 for PFI and DFI, respectively). Similar performance was obtained in the HGSOC cohort (p = 0.0131 and 0.004 for PFI and DFI, respectively). Multivariate Cox regression adjusting for age, grade, and stage showed that the 63-gene signature remained statistically significant in stratifying HGSOC patients (p = 0.0005). Conclusion: A gene signature was identified to predict recurrence in BLBC and HGSOC patients. With further validation, this signature may provide an additional prognostic tool for clinicians to better manage BLBC, many of which are triple-negative and HGSOC patients who are currently difficult to treat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-698
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal-like breast cancer
  • Gene signature
  • High-grade serous ovarian cancer
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence


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