An mRNA Gene Expression–Based Signature to Identify FGFR1-Amplified Estrogen Receptor–Positive Breast Tumors

Jingqin Luo, Shuzhen Liu, Samuel Leung, Alejandro A. Gru, Yu Tao, Jeremy Hoog, Julie Ho, Sherri R. Davies, D. Craig Allred, Andrea L. Salavaggione, Jacqueline Snider, Elaine R. Mardis, Torsten O. Nielsen, Matthew J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) amplification drives poor prognosis and is an emerging therapeutic target. We sought to construct a multigene mRNA expression signature to efficiently identify FGFR1-amplified estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) breast tumors. Five independent breast tumor series were analyzed. Genes discriminative for FGFR1 amplification were screened transcriptome-wide by receiver operating characteristic analyses. The METABRIC series was leveraged to construct/evaluate four approaches to signature composition. A locked-down signature was validated with 651 ER+ formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues (the University of British Columbia–tamoxifen cohort). A NanoString nCounter assay was designed to profile selected genes. For a gold standard, FGFR1 amplification was determined by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Prognostic effects of FGFR1 amplification were assessed by survival analyses. Eight 8p11-12 genes (ASH2L, BAG4, BRF2, DDHD2, LSM1, PROSC, RAB11FIP1, and WHSC1L1) together with the a priori selected FGFR1 gene, highly discriminated FGFR1 amplification (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve ≥0.82, all genes and all cohorts). The nine-gene signature Call-FGFR1-amp accurately identified FGFR1 FISH-amplified ER+ tumors in the University of British Columbia–tamoxifen cohort (specificity, 0.94; sensitivity, 0.96) and exhibited prognostic effects (disease-specific survival hazard ratio, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.14–2.16; P = 0.005). Call-FGFR1-amp includes several understudied 8p11-12 amplicon-driven oncogenes and accurately identifies FGFR1-amplified ER+ breast tumors. Our study demonstrates an efficient approach to diagnosing rare amplified therapeutic targets with FISH as a confirmatory assay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-161
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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