Background: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression has been considered a poor prognostic factor in breast cancer.
Methodology: A prospective study of 206 women with breast cancer analysed by stages (I, II, III and IV) and by immunohistochemical subtype (Luminal A, Luminal B, HER2+ and triple-negative (TN)); 89 healthy controls with normal recent mammography were included. The EGFR measured in the serum (sEGFR) was detected by the Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) method (R&D Systems kit DY231) collected by blood before any treatment in patients. Kaplan–Meier method and Cox regression were carried out to obtain the prognostic value, considering significance if p < 0.05.
Results: With a median follow-up of 36.6 months, 47 deaths occurred. Multivariable Cox regression showed difference of overall survival (OS) associated with sEGFR levels (sEGFR ≤ or > 47.8 ng/mL) in patients with TN cancers, but not of Luminal A, Luminal B or HER2+ subtypes; adjusted by stage, the death risk increased by approximately 415% [hazard ratio (HR): 5.149 (1.900–13.955), p = 0.001] for patients with sEGFR > 47.8 ng/mL compared to patients with a lower sEGFR value. There was no significant correlation of sEGFR with staging, histological tumour grade (G1/G2/G3), Ki67 (< or ≥14%) or body mass index.
Conclusions: Increased sEGFR expression in patients with TN tumours is a significant predictor of lower OS and its quantification is inexpensive and straightforward.