Validation study of a quantitative multigene reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay for assessment of recurrence risk in patients with stage II colon cancer.
Gray RG., Quirke P., Handley K., Lopatin M., Magill L., Baehner FL., Beaumont C., Clark-Langone KM., Yoshizawa CN., Lee M., Watson D., Shak S., Kerr DJ.
PURPOSE: We developed quantitative gene expression assays to assess recurrence risk and benefits from chemotherapy in patients with stage II colon cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We sought validation by using RNA extracted from fixed paraffin-embedded primary colon tumor blocks from 1,436 patients with stage II colon cancer in the QUASAR (Quick and Simple and Reliable) study of adjuvant fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy versus surgery alone. A recurrence score (RS) and a treatment score (TS) were calculated from gene expression levels of 13 cancer-related genes (n = 7 recurrence genes and n = 6 treatment benefit genes) and from five reference genes with prespecified algorithms. Cox proportional hazards regression models and log-rank methods were used to analyze the relationship between the RS and risk of recurrence in patients treated with surgery alone and between TS and benefits of chemotherapy. RESULTS: Risk of recurrence was significantly associated with RS (hazard ratio [HR] per interquartile range, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.74; P = .004). Recurrence risks at 3 years were 12%, 18%, and 22% for predefined low, intermediate, and high recurrence risk groups, respectively. T stage (HR, 1.94; P < .001) and mismatch repair (MMR) status (HR, 0.31; P < .001) were the strongest histopathologic prognostic factors. The continuous RS was associated with risk of recurrence (P = .006) beyond these and other covariates. There was no trend for increased benefit from chemotherapy at higher TS (P = .95). CONCLUSION: The continuous 12-gene RS has been validated in a prospective study for assessment of recurrence risk in patients with stage II colon cancer after surgery and provides prognostic value that complements T stage and MMR. The TS was not predictive of chemotherapy benefit.