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Purpose: Anthracyclines and taxanes are considered the standard for neoadjuvant chemotherapy of breast cancer, although they are often associated with serious side effects and wide variability of individual response. In this study, we analyzed the value of topoisomerase II alpha (TOP2A) and transducin-like enhancer of split 3 (TLE3) as predictive markers of response to therapy with anthracyclines and taxanes. Materials and methods: TOP2A and TLE3 protein expressions were evaluated using immunohistochemistry on 28 samples, obtained by core needle biopsy in patients with locally advanced breast carcinoma, subsequently subjected to epirubicin- and paclitaxel-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The immunohistochemical staining was correlated with the clinical response measured by the tumor size reduction evaluated by breast magnetic resonance imaging, prior and after chemotherapy, and by pathologic evaluation of the surgical specimen. Results: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy achieved a size reduction in 26/28 tumors (92.9%), with an average percentage decrease of 45.6%. A downstaging was achieved in 71.4% of the cases of locally advanced carcinoma. TOP2A positivity was correlated with a greater reduction in tumor diameter (P=0.06); negative staining for TLE3 was predictive of a better response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (P=0.07). A higher reduction in tumor diameter (P=0.03) was also found for tumors that were concurrently TLE3-negative and TOP2A-positive. Conclusion: TOP2A and TLE3 showed a correlation with response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. While TOP2A is a well-known marker of response to anthracyclines-based chemotherapy, TLE3 is a new putative predictor of response to taxanes. Data from the current study suggest that TOP2A and TLE3 warrant further investigation in a larger series as predictors of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for locally advanced breast carcinoma.
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