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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

MYC amplification in subtypes of breast cancers in African American women

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
Tammey J. Naab, Anita Gautam, Luisel Ricks-Santi, Ashwini K. Esnakula, Yasmine M. Kanaan, Robert L. DeWitty, Girmay Asgedom, Khepher H. Makambi, Massih Abawi, Jan K. Blancato



MYC overexpression is associated with poor prognosis in breast tumors (BCa). The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of MYC amplification and associated markers in BCa tumors from African American (AA) women and determine the associations between MYC amplification and clinico-pathological characteristics.


We analyzed 70 cases of well characterized archival breast ductal carcinoma specimens from AA women for MYC oncogene amplification. Utilizing immune histochemical analysis estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and (HER2/neu), were assessed. Cases were Luminal A (ER or PR+, Ki-67 < 14%), Luminal B (ER or PR+, Ki-67 = > 14% or ER or PR+ HER2+), HER2 (ER-, PR-, HER2+), and Triple Negative (ER-, PR-, HER2-) with basal-like phenotype. The relationship between MYC amplification and prognostic clinico-pathological characteristics was determined using chi square and logistic regression modeling.


Sixty-five (97%) of the tumors showed MYC gene amplification (MYC: CEP8 > 1). Statistically significant associations were found between MYC amplification and HER2-amplified BCa, and Luminal B subtypes of BCa (p < 0.0001), stage (p < 0.001), metastasis (p < 0.001), and positive lymph node status (p = 0.039). MYC amplification was associated with HER2 status (p = 0.01) and tumor size (p = 0.01). High MYC amplification was seen in grade III carcinomas (MYC: CEP8 = 2.42), pre-menopausal women (MYC: CEP8 = 2.49), PR-negative status (MYC: CEP8 = 2.42), and ER-positive status (MYC: CEP8 = 2.4).


HER2 positive BCas in AA women are likely to exhibit MYC amplification. High amplification ratios suggest that MYC drives HER2 amplification, especially in HER2 positive, Luminal B, and subtypes of BCa.
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