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FGFR1 copy number in breast cancer: associations with proliferation, histopathological grade and molecular subtypes


Aims FGFR1 is located on 8p11.23 and regulates cell proliferation and survival. Increased copy number of FGFR1 is found in several cancers including cancer of the breast. ZNF703 is located close to FGFR1 at 8p11-12 and is frequently expressed in the luminal B subtype of breast cancer. Using tissue samples from a well-described cohort of patients with breast cancer with long-term follow-up, we studied associations between FGFR1 copy number in primary breast cancer tumours and axillary lymph node metastases, and proliferation status, molecular subtype and prognosis. Furthermore, we studied associations between copy number increase of FGFR1 and copy number of ZNF703.

Methods We used fluorescence in situ hybridisation for FGFR1 and the chromosome 8 centromere applied to tissue microarray sections from a series of 534 breast cancer cases.

Results We found increased copy number (≥4) of FGFR1 in 74 (13.9%) of tumours. Only 6 of the 74 cases with increased copy number were non-luminal. Increased FGFR1 copy number was significantly associated with high Ki-67 status, high mitotic count and high histopathological grade, but not with prognosis. Forty-two (7.9%) cases had mean copy number ≥6. Thirty of these showed ZNF708 copy number ≥6.

Conclusions Our results show that FGFR1 copy number increase is largely found among luminal subtypes of breast cancer, particularly luminal B (HER2). It is frequently accompanied by increased copy number of ZNF703. FGFR1 copy number increase is associated with high histopathological grade and high proliferation. However, we did not discover an association with prognosis.

  • pathology
  • molecular
  • genes
  • neoplasm
  • breast neoplasms

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