A Novel Gene Singature to Predict Hormone Response in ER+ Breast Cancer Patients


Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a novel gene expression signature to predict how a postmenopausal breast cancer patient with an estrogen receptor positive tumour will respond to hormone therapy including tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors, and estrogen. RNA-sequencing of specimens from the PRESTO (Pre-operative estradiol window of opportunity study in post-menopausal women with newly diagnosed ER+ breast cancer) trial followed by differential gene expression analysis comparing patients responding to estrogen vs. non-responders led to a gene expression panel that could significantly predict responders in previously published databases of patients treated with tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors. The use of RNA-seq with confirmatory experimental data from cell lines has resulted in a robust and unique panel that is based on a cutting-edge biological mechanism with minimal overlap with existing commercial predictive or prognostic signatures. The panel is predictive regardless of the patient’s nodal status or use of hormone replacement therapy.

The prediction of hormone responsiveness is crucial in determining therapy for those patients who do not benefit from hormone therapy and will require chemotherapy. This work challenges the current thinking about estrogen by establishing that estrogen is antiproliferative in the majority of ER+ patients thereby facilitating an improved analysis of clinical, research, and treatment options in postmenopausal women with ER+ breast cancer.

We are seeking partnerships with pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies for collaborative development and licensing.



  • Predictive panel regardless of patient’s nodal status
  • More accurate prediction of hormone responsiveness
  • Less expensive than commercially available tests


Protection Status

Patent Pending

Product Number


Contact Information

Megha Bajaj
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta
Phone: 780-492-7739
​Email: megha.bajaj@tecedmonton.com