Traditional molecular markers and response to adjuvant endocrine or trastuzumab-based therapies

Giuseppe Viale, Mariacristina Ghioni, Mauro G. Mastropasqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review: The accurate assessment of traditional molecular markers is essential to inform the choice of the adjuvant systemic treatments for patients with breast cancer. Extensive research efforts have been made to explore whether it is also possible to predict the actual response to the different therapeutic options based on the expression of these markers. Recent findings: Endocrine responsiveness of breast cancer has been eventually defined according to the expression of estrogen receptors in at least 1% of invasive tumor cells. The quantitative evaluation of estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors (PgR) and Ki-67 labeling index may help in selecting patients with estrogen receptor-positive and HER2-negative tumors who can be spared or may benefit from the addition of chemotherapy to endocrine therapy. Guideline recommendations for an optimal testing of estrogen receptors and PgR have been issued to assist pathologists in the accurate assessment of these markers. Progress has also been made in the identification of candidate patients to HER2-targeted therapies and in the prediction of response to trastuzumab. Summary: Traditional molecular markers play a major role in the selection of candidate patients to systemic interventions, but they are of limited value in predicting their actual response to the different treatments, especially when the markers are evaluated individually.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-546
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • breast cancer
  • predictive biomarkers
  • tamoxifen
  • trastuzumab
  • treatment tailoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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