Decreased Breast Cancer Survival Associated With High TRAIL-R2 Expression

High expression of TRAIL-R2, a cell surface receptor that triggers cell death, has been shown to be associated with a decrease in the survival rates of breast cancer patients according to a study published by Yale Cancer Center researchers in Clinical Cancer Research.

Analyzing 20-year follow-up data from breast cancer patients, using an automated quantitative analysis system (AQUA™) to review tissue microarray specimens, the researchers identified increased intensity of TRAIL receptor expression. AQUA™ scores were correlated with clinical and pathologic variables. In addition, TRAIL-R1 and TRAIL-R2 expression were both studied on 95 unmatched normal breast specimens.

Yale Researchers concluded that while TRAIL-R1 expression was not associated with survival, high TRAIL-R2 expression strongly correlated with decreased survival.

“A number of TRAIL receptor targeting therapies are currently in clinical development. As with other targeted therapies, it is important to determine which patients are more likely to respond to these therapies,” said Harriet Kluger, MD, author on the study and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of Medical Oncology at Yale School of Medicine. “AQUA™ allows us to stratify patients based on expression levels of drug targets in an automated, unbiased fashion. This will help us reach our ultimate goal of practicing personalized medicine, by treating patients based on characteristics of individual tumors.”

The AQUA™ system measures and localizes specific variations in protein expression within tissue automatically, with a high level of precision. The multi-tissue proteomic analysis system combines fluorescence-based imaging with automated microscopy and high-throughput tissue microarray technologies. HistoRx has exclusively licensed the AQUA™ technology that was developed by David Rimm, M.D., Ph.D. and Robert Camp, M.D., of the Yale University School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center.

Co-authors of the study include Mary M. McCarthy, Mario Sznol, Kyle A. DiVito, Robert L. Camp, and David L. Rimm.

The study was funded by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Breast Cancer Alliance and the C.J. Swebilius Foundation for Translational Research.

Citation: Clinical Cancer Research 2005;11(14) July 15, 2005

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Renee Gaudette: renee.gaudette@yale.edu, (203) 671-8156