Title: Prediction of Benefit From Adjuvant Pertuzumab by 80-Gene Signature in the APHINITY (BIG 4-11) Trial

Publication: JCO Precision Oncology, Vol. 8, 2024

Authors: Ian E. Krop, MD, Lorenza MittempergherJoseph N. Paulson, Fabrice Andre, MD, PhD, Herve Bonnefoi, MD, Sherene Loi, MD, PhD, Sibylle Loibl, MD, PhD, Richard D. Gelber, PhD, Carmela Caballero, MD, Rajith Bhaskaran, PhD, Christa Dreezen, MSc, Andrea R. Menicucci, Rene Bernards, PhD, Laura J. van ’t Veer, PhD, and Martine J. Piccart, MD, PhD

At the primary analysis, the APHINITY trial reported a statistically significant but modest benefit of adding pertuzumab to standard adjuvant chemotherapy plus trastuzumab in patients with histologically confirmed human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)–positive early-stage breast cancer. This study evaluated whether the 80-gene molecular subtyping signature (80-GS) could identify patients within the APHINITY population who derive the most benefit from dual anti-HER2 therapy.

In a nested case-control study design of 1,023 patients (matched event to control ratio of 3:1), the 80-GS classified breast tumors into functional luminal type, HER2 type, or basal type. Additionally, 80-GS distinguished tumor subtypes that exhibited a single-dominant functional pathway versus tumors with multiple activated pathways. The primary end point was invasive disease-free survival (IDFS). Hazard ratios (HRs) were evaluated by Cox regression. After excluding patients without appropriate consent and those with missing data, 964 patients were included.

The 80-GS classified 50% (n = 479) of tumors as luminal type, 28% (n = 275) as HER2 type, and 22% (n = 209) as basal type. Most luminal-type tumors (86%) displayed a single-activated pathway, whereas 49% of HER2-type and 42% of basal-type tumors were dual activated. There was no significant difference in IDFS among different conventional 80-GS subtypes (single- and dual-activated subtypes combined). However, basal single-subtype tumors were significantly more likely to have an IDFS event (hazard ratio, 1.69 [95% CI, 1.12 to 2.54]) compared with other subtypes. HER2 single-subtype tumors displayed a trend toward greater beneficial effect on the addition of pertuzumab (hazard ratio, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.27 to 1.16]) compared with all other subtypes.

The 80-GS identified subgroups of histologically confirmed HER2-positive tumors with distinct biological characteristics. Basal single-subtype tumors exhibit an inferior prognosis compared with other subgroups and may be candidates for additional therapeutic strategies. Preliminary results suggest patients with HER2-positive, genomically HER2 single-subtype tumors may particularly benefit from added pertuzumab, which warrants further investigation.