Purpose: Androgen receptor (AR) expression has been observed in about 70% of patients with breast cancer, but its prognostic role remains uncertain.
Experimental Design: To assess the prognostic role of AR expression in early-stage breast cancer, we performed a meta-analysis of studies that evaluated the impact of AR at the protein and gene expression level on disease-free survival (DFS) and/or overall survival (OS). Eligible studies were identified by systematic review of electronic databases using the MeSH-terms “breast neoplasm” and “androgen receptor” and were selected after a qualitative assessment based on the REMARK criteria. A pooled gene expression analysis of 35 publicly available microarray data sets was also performed from patients with early-stage breast cancer with available gene expression and clinical outcome data.
Results: Twenty-two of 33 eligible studies for the clinical meta-analysis, including 10,004 patients, were considered as evaluable for the current study after the qualitative assessment. AR positivity defined by IHC was associated with improved DFS in all patients with breast cancer [multivariate (M) analysis, HR 0.46; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.37–0.58, P < 0.001] and better OS [M-HR 0.53; 95% CI, 0.38–0.73, P < 0.001]. Thirty-five datasets including 7,220 patients were eligible for the pooled gene expression analysis. High AR mRNA levels were found to confer positive prognosis overall in terms of DFS (HR 0.82; 95% CI 0.72–0.92;P = 0.0007) and OS (HR 0.84; 95% CI, 0.75–0.94; P = 0.02) only in univariate analysis.
Conclusion: Our analysis, conducted among more than 17,000 women with early-stage breast cancer included in clinical and gene expression analysis, demonstrates that AR positivity is associated with favorable clinical outcome. Clin Cancer Res; 1–11. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received April 28, 2016.
- Revision received October 3, 2016.
- Accepted October 27, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.