The DNA damage signalling kinase ATM is aberrantly reduced or lost in BRCA1/BRCA2-deficient and ER/PR/ERBB2-triple-negative breast cancer.
ABSTRACT The ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) kinase is a key transducer of DNA damage signals within the genome maintenance machinery and a tumour suppressor whose germline mutations predispose to familial breast cancer. ATM signalling is constitutively activated in early stages of diverse types of human malignancies and cell culture models in response to oncogene-induced DNA damage providing a barrier against tumour progression. As BRCA1 and BRCA2 are also components of the genome maintenance network and their mutations predispose to breast cancer, we have examined the ATM expression in human breast carcinomas of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, sporadic cases and familial non-BRCA1/2 patients. Our results show that ATM protein expression is aberrantly reduced more frequently among BRCA1 (33%; P=0.0003) and BRCA2 (30%; P=0.0009) tumours than in non-BRCA1/2 tumours (10.7%). Furthermore, the non-BRCA1/2 tumours with reduced ATM expression were more often estrogen receptor (ER) negative (P=0.0002), progesterone receptor (PR) negative (P=0.004) and were of higher grade (P=0.0004). In our series of 1013 non-BRCA1/2 cases, ATM was more commonly deficient (20%; P=0.0006) and p53 was overabundant (47%; P<0.0000000001) among the difficult-to-treat ER/PR/ERBB2-triple-negative subset of tumours compared with cases that expressed at least one of these receptors (10 and 16% of aberrant ATM and p53, respectively). We propose a model of 'conditional haploinsufficiency' for BRCA1/2 under conditions of enhanced DNA damage in precancerous lesions resulting in more robust activation and hence increased selection for inactivation or loss of ATM in tumours of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, with implications for genomic instability and curability of diverse subsets of human breast cancer.
Article: Gene-body hypermethylation of ATM in peripheral blood DNA of bilateral breast cancer patients.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Bilaterality of breast cancer is an indicator of constitutional cancer susceptibility; however, the molecular causes underlying this predisposition in the majority of cases is not known. We hypothesize that epigenetic misregulation of cancer-related genes could partially account for this predisposition. We have performed methylation microarray analysis of peripheral blood DNA from 14 women with bilateral breast cancer compared with 14 unaffected matched controls throughout 17 candidate breast cancer susceptibility genes including BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, ATM, ESR1, SFN, CDKN2A, TP53, GSTP1, CDH1, CDH13, HIC1, PGR, SFRP1, MLH1, RARB and HSD17B4. We show that the majority of methylation variability is associated with intragenic repetitive elements. Detailed validation of the tiled region around ATM was performed by bisulphite modification and pyrosequencing of the same samples and in a second set of peripheral blood DNA from 190 bilateral breast cancer patients compared with 190 controls. We show significant hypermethylation of one intragenic repetitive element in breast cancer cases compared with controls (P = 0.0017), with the highest quartile of methylation associated with a 3-fold increased risk of breast cancer (OR 3.20, 95% CI 1.78-5.86, P = 0.000083). Increased methylation of this locus is associated with lower steady-state ATM mRNA level and correlates with age of cancer patients but not controls, suggesting a combined age-phenotype-related association. This research demonstrates the potential for gene-body epigenetic misregulation of ATM and other cancer-related genes in peripheral blood DNA that may be useful as a novel marker to estimate breast cancer risk. ACCESSION NUMBERS: The microarray data and associated .BED and .WIG files can be accessed through Gene Expression Omnibus accession number: GSE14603.Human Molecular Genetics 02/2009; 18(7):1332-42. · 7.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Adjuvant radiotherapy for cancer can result in severe adverse side effects for normal tissues. In this respect, individuals with anomalies of the ATM (ataxia telangiectasia) protein/gene are of particular interest as they may be at risk of both breast cancer and clinical radiosensitivity. The association of specific ATM gene mutations with these pathologies has been well documented, however, there is uncertainty regarding pathological thresholds for the ATM protein. Semi-quantitative immuno-blotting provided a reliable and reproducible method to compare levels of the ATM protein for a rare cohort of 20 cancer patients selected on the basis of their severe adverse normal tissue reactions to radiotherapy. We found that 4/12 (33%) of the breast cancer patients with severe adverse normal tissue reactions following radiotherapy had ATM protein levels < 55% compared to the mean for non-reactor controls. ATM mutations are generally considered low risk alleles for breast cancer and clinical radiosensitivity. From results reported here we propose a tentative ATM protein threshold of ~55% for high-risk of clinical radiosensitivity for breast cancer patients.Genome integrity. 01/2010; 1(1):9.
Article: Genomic and phenotypic analysis of BRCA2 mutated breast cancers reveals co-occurring changes linked to progression.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Inherited mutations in the BRCA2 gene greatly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Consistent with an important role for BRCA2 in error-free DNA repair, complex genomic changes are frequently observed in tumors derived from BRCA2 mutation carriers. Here, we explore the impact of DNA copy-number changes in BRCA2 tumors with respect to phenotype and clinical staging of the disease. Breast tumors (n = 33) derived from BRCA2 999del5 mutation carriers were examined in terms of copy-number changes with high-resolution aCGH (array comparative genomic hybridization) containing 385 thousand probes (about one for each 7 kbp) and expression of phenotypic markers on TMAs (tissue microarrays). The data were examined with respect to clinical parameters including TNM staging, histologic grade, S phase, and ploidy. Tumors from BRCA2 carriers of luminal and basal/triple-negative phenotypes (TNPs) differ with respect to patterns of DNA copy-number changes. The basal/TNP subtype was characterized by lack of pRb (RB1) coupled with high/intense expression of p16 (CDKN2A) gene products. We found increased proportions of Ki-67-positive cells to be significantly associated with loss of the wild-type (wt) BRCA2 allele in luminal types, whereas BRCA2wt loss was less frequent in BRCA2 tumors displaying basal/TNP phenotypes. Furthermore, we show that deletions at 13q13.1, involving the BRCA2wt allele, represents a part of a larger network of co-occurring genetic changes, including deletions at 6q22.32-q22.33, 11q14.2-q24.1, and gains at 17q24.1. Importantly, copy-number changes at these BRCA2-linked networking regions coincide with those associated with advanced progression, involving the capacity to metastasize to the nodes or more-distant sites at diagnosis. The results presented here demonstrate divergent paths of tumor evolution in BRCA2 carriers and that deletion of the wild-type BRCA2 allele, together with co-occurring changes at 6 q, 11 q, and 17 q, are important events in progression toward advanced disease.Breast cancer research: BCR 09/2011; 13(5):R95. · 5.24 Impact Factor