The creation of multigene panels for prognostic and predictive purposes allows a more accurate indication of adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with breast cancer. In a previous study, we reproduced a multigene panel of 21 genes based on the commercial Oncotype-DX method. We submitted 183 embedded specimens obtained from breast surgery on patients with locoregional disease (stages I to III) between 2005 and 2010 performed at the Hospitals of the Medical School of the ABC Foundation. When we analysed the correlations between the score of the multigene panel and the progression-free interval (PFI) in all patients, we did not find a statistically significant association. However, when we selected only the 71 samples that had amplification of at least eight non-housekeeping genes, we observed that those with scores above the 75th percentile had a significantly lower PFI (p = .0054). Samples processed with nonbuffered formaldehyde were associated with a worse quality of extracted RNA (p = .004) and a significantly higher multigene panel score (p = .021). We conclude that variations in the pre-analytical processing of specimens destined for multigene panel amplification can significantly affect the results, with a potential impact on clinical management.
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