Response of Triple Negative Breast Cancer to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: Correlation between Ki-67 Expression and Pathological Response


Triple-negative breast cancers constitute about 15% of all cases, but despite their higher response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, the tumors are very aggressive and associated with a poor prognosis as well as a higher risk of early recurrence. This study was retrospectively performed on 101 patients with stage II and III invasive breast cancer who received 6–8 cycles of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. Out of the total, 23 were in the triple negative breast cancer subgroup. Nuclear Ki-67 expression in both the large cohort group (n=101) and triple negative breast cancer subgroup (n=23) and its relation to the pathological response were evaluated. The purpose of the study was to identify the predictive value of nuclear protein Ki-67 expression among patients with invasive breast cancers, involving the triple negative breast cancer subgroup, treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy in correlation to the rate of pathological complete response. The proliferation marker Ki-67 expression was highest in the triple negative breast cancer subgroup. No appreciable difference in the rate of Ki-67 expression in triple negative breast cancer subgroup using either a cutoff of 14% or 35%. Triple negative breast cancer subgroup showed lower rates of pathological complete response. Achievement of pathological complete response was significantly correlated with smaller tumor size and higher Ki-67 expression. The majority of triple negative breast cancer cases achieved pathological partial response. The study concluded that Ki-67 is a useful tool to predict chemosensitivity in the setting of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for invasive breast cancer but not for the triple negative breast cancer subgroup.