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Androgen receptor and FOXA1 coexpression define a "luminal-AR" subtype of feline mammary carcinomas, spontaneous models of breast cancer

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Invasive mammary carcinomas that spontaneously develop in female cats are associated with high mortality, and resemble the most aggressive human breast cancers, especially triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Transcriptome studies showed that TNBCs are a heterogeneous group that includes a potentially hormone-dependent subtype named luminal-AR. Some authors proposed an immunohistochemical definition of the luminal-AR subtype, which is not only positive for Androgen Receptor (AR), but also either positive for the transcription factor Forkhead box A1 (FOXA1), or negative for basal markers. The objectives of this study were to describe AR and FOXA1 expressions in feline mammary carcinomas (FMCs), their prognostic value, and if their coexpression could define a "luminal-AR" subtype of triple-negative mammary carcinomas in cats. METHODS: In a previously described retrospective cohort of 180 female cats with FMCs, with a 2-year follow-up post-mastectomy, we assessed AR, FOXA1, ER, PR, Ki-67, HER2, and CK14 expressions by automated immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Of the 180 FMCs, 57 (32%) were luminal; i.e., ER and/or PR positive, and 123 (68%) were triple-negative (ER-, PR- and HER2-) FMCs. AR overexpression (found in 33 cases/180, 18%) and FOXA1 index ≥1% (64/180, 36%) were associated with a longer disease-free interval, overall survival, and cancer-specific survival in cats with FMC. Analysis of AR, FOXA1 and CK14 coexpression in triple-negative FMCs showed that AR+ triple-negative FMCs were heterogeneous: there existed an AR+ FOXA1+ CK14- subgroup (n = 7) associated with a better cancer-specific survival by multivariate survival analysis (HR = 0.26, 95% CI: 0.07-0.89, p = 0.03) compared to AR+ FOXA1-CK14+ triple-negative FMCs (n = 46) (HR = 1.00), independently of the pathologic tumor size and pathologic nodal stage. The non-basal-like subtype of triple-negative FMCs that coexpresses AR and FOXA1 (the AR+ FOXA1+ CK14- subgroup) could represent the equivalent of the luminal-AR subgroup of human triple-negative breast cancer. CONCLUSIONS: We identified an AR+ FOXA1+ CK14- subgroup of triple-negative FMCs that might correspond to the luminal-AR subgroup of human triple-negative breast cancers. Cats with FMC may be interesting spontaneous animal models to investigate new strategies targeting the androgen receptor, especially in the aggressive subtype of AR+ basal-like triple-negative mammary carcinomas with loss of FOXA1 expression (the AR+ FOXA1-CK14+ subgroup).
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Submitted on : Friday, January 10, 2020 - 11:15:24 AM
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Elie Dagher, Violette Royer, Paul Buchet, Jérôme Abadie, Delphine Loussouarn, et al.. Androgen receptor and FOXA1 coexpression define a "luminal-AR" subtype of feline mammary carcinomas, spontaneous models of breast cancer. BMC Cancer, BioMed Central, 2019, 19 (1), pp.1267. ⟨10.1186/s12885-019-6483-6⟩. ⟨inserm-02434634⟩

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