Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) is used in locally advanced breast cancer to reduce tumour burden prior to surgical resection. However, only a subset of NACT treated patients will respond to treatment or achieve a pathologic complete response (pCR). This multicenter, prospective study (CTRIAL-IE (ICORG) 10-11 study) evaluated circulating microRNA as novel non-invasive prognostic biomarkers of NACT response in breast cancer. Selected circulating microRNAs (Let-7a, miR-21, miR-145, miR-155, miR-195) were quantified from patients undergoing standard of care NACT treatment (n = 114) from whole blood at collected at diagnosis, and the association with NACT response and clinicopathological features evaluated. NACT responders had significantly lower levels of miR-21 (p = 0.036) and miR-195 (p = 0.017), compared to non-responders. Evaluating all breast cancer cases miR-21 was found to be an independent predictor of response (OR 0.538, 95% CI 0.308–0.943, p < 0.05). Luminal cancer NACT responders were found to have significantly decreased levels of miR-145 (p = 0.033) and miR-21 (p = 0.048), compared to non-responders. This study demonstrates the prognostic ability of miR-21, miR-195 and miR-145 as circulating biomarkers stratifying breast cancer patients by NACT response, identifying patients that will derive the maximum benefit from chemotherapy.
McGuire, A., Casey, M. C., Waldron, R. M., Heneghan, H., Kalinina, O., Holian, E., … Kerin, M. J. (2020). Prospective assessment of systemic microRNAs as markers of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer. Cancers, 12(7), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12071820