[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer/testis (CT) antigens are protein antigens normally expressed only in germ cells of testis, and yet are expressed in a proportion of a wide variety of human cancers. CT antigens can elicit spontaneous immune responses in cancer patients with CT-positive cancers, and CT antigen-based therapeutic cancer vaccine trials are ongoing for "CT-rich" tumors. Although some previous studies found breast cancer to be "CT-poor", our recent analysis identified increased CT mRNA transcripts in the ER-negative subset of breast cancer.
In this study, we performed a comprehensive immunohistochemical study to investigate the protein expression of eight CT genes in 454 invasive ductal carcinomas, including 225 ER/PR/HER2-negative (triple-negative) carcinomas. We found significantly more frequent expression of all eight CT antigens in ER-negative cancers, and five of them--MAGEA, CT7, NY-ESO-1, CT10 and CT45, were expressed in 12-24% of ER-negative cancers, versus 2-6% of ER-positive cancers (p<0.001 to 0.003). In comparison, GAGE, SAGE1 and NXF2 were only expressed in 3-5% of ER-negative and 0-2% of ER-positive cancers. ER-negative cancers were also more likely to simultaneously co-express multiple CT antigens, with 27% (34/125) of ER-negative, CT-positive tumors expressing three or more CT antigens. HER2 status had no consistent effect on CT expression, and triple-negative carcinomas showed similar frequencies of MAGEA and NY-ESO-1 expression as ER-negative/HER2-positive carcinomas. More frequent CT expression was also found in tumors with higher nuclear grade (p<0.001 to p = 0.01) and larger in size (>2 cm).
CT antigens are preferentially expressed in hormone receptor-negative and high-grade breast cancer. Considering the limited treatment options for ER/PR/HER2 triple-negative breast cancer, the potential of CT-based immunotherapy should be explored.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e17876. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer currently accounts for more than one-quarter of all female cancers and, despite the great progress in treatment observed in the past few years, the need for identification of new gene targets that can be used for diagnosis, prognosis and therapy is evident. A previous study identified the transcription factor NR4A1 as a gene upregulated in primary breast cancer compared with normal tissue by microarray analysis and sequencing technologies. The purpose of the study was to identify the role of NR4A1 in normal mammary epithelial and breast cancer cell biology.
NR4A1 expression in breast tumours was assessed by semiquantitative and real-time PCR using RNA from normal and tumour samples or breast cancer cell lines. Immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays was performed to check NR4A1 protein expression in breast tumours. MCF-10A and 226L normal mammary epithelial cells as well as the tumour lines PMC42, ZR-75-1 and MDA-MB-231 were transduced with full-length NR4A1, and the ability of NR4A1-overexpressing cells to migrate was tested using scratch wound or transwell migration assays. Proliferation was measured using the MTT and BrdU assays, while apoptosis was determined by the Annexin V assay. The ability of the cells to adhere to extracellular matrix was tested by adhesion assays and integrin cell surface expression was measured by flow cytometry. Activation of the FAK as well as ERK1/2 and PI3K pathways was checked by western blotting.
Breast tissue microarray analysis showed NR4A1 expression in primary tumours, which was reduced in higher grade and metastatic tumours. Ectopic expression of NR4A1 in MCF-10A, 226L, PMC42 and ZR-75-1 cells led to reduced ability of the cells to migrate, while no differences were observed in their proliferation and apoptotic index. NR4A1 expression altered the ability of the MCF-10A cells to adhere to the extracellular matrix and affected cell surface expression of integrins.
NR4A1 acts as an antimigratory factor in two normal mammary epithelial and two breast cancer cell lines tested. It is therefore possible that NR4A1 acts as an antimigratory factor in breast tumours, and further studies should be conducted to understand the mechanisms involved.
Breast cancer research: BCR 01/2010; 12(4):R51. · 5.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer/testis (CT) genes are predominantly expressed in human germ line cells, but not somatic tissues, and frequently become activated in different cancer types. Several CT antigens have already proved to be useful biomarkers and are promising targets for therapeutic cancer vaccines. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of CT antigens in breast cancer. Using previously generated massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) data, together with 9 publicly available gene expression datasets, the expression pattern of CT antigens located on the X chromosome (CT-X) was interrogated. Whereas a minority of unselected breast cancers was found to contain CT-X transcripts, a significantly higher expression frequency was detected in estrogen and progesterone receptor (ER) negative breast cancer cell lines and primary breast carcinomas. A coordinated pattern of CT-X antigen expression was observed, with MAGEA and NY-ESO-1/CTAG1B being the most prevalent antigens. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed the correlation of CT-X antigen expression and ER negativity in breast tumors and demonstrated a trend for their coexpression with basal cell markers. Because of the limited therapeutic options for ER-negative breast cancers, vaccines based on CT-X antigens might prove to be useful.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2009; 106(32):13493-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: More than 20% of human transcripts have naturally occurring antisense products (or natural antisense transcripts--NATs), some of which may play a key role in a range of human diseases. To date, several databases of in silico defined human sense-antisense (SAS) pairs have appeared, however no study has focused on differential expression of SAS pairs in breast tissue. We therefore investigated the expression levels of sense and antisense transcripts in normal and malignant human breast epithelia using the Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 and Almac Diagnostics Breast Cancer DSA microarray technologies as well as massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) data.
The expression of more than 2500 antisense transcripts were detected in normal breast duct luminal cells and in primary breast tumors substantially enriched for their epithelial cell content by DSA microarray. Expression of 431 NATs were confirmed by either of the other two technologies. A corresponding sense transcript could be identified on DSA for 257 antisense transcripts. Of these SAS pairs, 163 have not been previously reported. A positive correlation of differential expression between normal and malignant breast samples was observed for most SAS pairs. Orientation specific RT-QPCR of selected SAS pairs validated their expression in several breast cancer cell lines and solid breast tumours.
Disease-focused and antisense enriched microarray platforms (such as Breast Cancer DSA) confirm the assumption that antisense transcription in the human breast is more prevalent than previously anticipated. Expression of a proportion of these NATs has already been confirmed by other technologies while the true existence of the remaining ones has to be validated. Nevertheless, future studies will reveal whether the relative abundances of antisense and sense transcripts have regulatory influences on the translation of these mRNAs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diverse microarray and sequencing technologies have been widely used to characterise the molecular changes in malignant epithelial cells in breast cancers. Such gene expression studies to identify markers and targets in tumour cells are, however, compromised by the cellular heterogeneity of solid breast tumours and by the lack of appropriate counterparts representing normal breast epithelial cells.
Malignant neoplastic epithelial cells from primary breast cancers and luminal and myoepithelial cells isolated from normal human breast tissue were isolated by immunomagnetic separation methods. Pools of RNA from highly enriched preparations of these cell types were subjected to expression profiling using massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) and four different genome wide microarray platforms. Functional related transcripts of the differential tumour epithelial transcriptome were used for gene set enrichment analysis to identify enrichment of luminal and myoepithelial type genes. Clinical pathological validation of a small number of genes was performed on tissue microarrays.
MPSS identified 6,553 differentially expressed genes between the pool of normal luminal cells and that of primary tumours substantially enriched for epithelial cells, of which 98% were represented and 60% were confirmed by microarray profiling. Significant expression level changes between these two samples detected only by microarray technology were shown by 4,149 transcripts, resulting in a combined differential tumour epithelial transcriptome of 8,051 genes. Microarray gene signatures identified a comprehensive list of 907 and 955 transcripts whose expression differed between luminal epithelial cells and myoepithelial cells, respectively. Functional annotation and gene set enrichment analysis highlighted a group of genes related to skeletal development that were associated with the myoepithelial/basal cells and upregulated in the tumour sample. One of the most highly overexpressed genes in this category, that encoding periostin, was analysed immunohistochemically on breast cancer tissue microarrays and its expression in neoplastic cells correlated with poor outcome in a cohort of poor prognosis estrogen receptor-positive tumours.
Using highly enriched cell populations in combination with multiplatform gene expression profiling studies, a comprehensive analysis of molecular changes between the normal and malignant breast tissue was established. This study provides a basis for the identification of novel and potentially important targets for diagnosis, prognosis and therapy in breast cancer.
Breast cancer research: BCR 02/2006; 8(5):R56. · 5.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The normal duct-lobular system of the breast is lined by two epithelial cell types, inner luminal secretory cells and outer contractile myoepithelial cells. We have generated comprehensive expression profiles of the two normal cell types, using immunomagnetic cell separation and gene expression microarray analysis. The cell-type specificity was confirmed at the protein level by immunohistochemistry in normal breast tissue. New prognostic markers for survival were identified when the luminal- and myoepithelial-specific molecules were evaluated on breast tumor tissue microarrays. Nuclear expression of luminal epithelial marker galectin 3 correlated with a shorter overall survival in these patients, and the expression of SPARC (osteonectin), a myoepithelial marker, was an independent marker of poor prognosis in breast cancers as a whole. These data provide a framework for the interpretation of breast cancer molecular profiling experiments, the identification of potential new diagnostic markers, and development of novel indicators of prognosis.
Cancer Research 06/2004; 64(9):3037-45. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whereas genome sequencing defines the genetic potential of an organism, transcript sequencing defines the utilization of this potential and links the genome with most areas of biology. To exploit the information within the human genome in the fight against cancer, we have deposited some two million expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from human tumors and their corresponding normal tissues in the public databases. The data currently define approximately 23,500 genes, of which only approximately 1,250 are still represented only by ESTs. Examination of the EST coverage of known cancer-related (CR) genes reveals that <1% do not have corresponding ESTs, indicating that the representation of genes associated with commonly studied tumors is high. The careful recording of the origin of all ESTs we have produced has enabled detailed definition of where the genes they represent are expressed in the human body. More than 100,000 ESTs are available for seven tissues, indicating a surprising variability of gene usage that has led to the discovery of a significant number of genes with restricted expression, and that may thus be therapeutically useful. The ESTs also reveal novel nonsynonymous germline variants (although the one-pass nature of the data necessitates careful validation) and many alternatively spliced transcripts. Although widely exploited by the scientific community, vindicating our totally open source policy, the EST data generated still provide extensive information that remains to be systematically explored, and that may further facilitate progress toward both the understanding and treatment of human cancers.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2003; 100(23):13418-23. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate changes in gene expression associated with ERBB2, expression profiting of immortalized human mammary luminal epithelial cells and variants expressing a moderate and high level of ERBB2 has been carried out using cDNA microarrays corresponding to approximately 6000 unique genes/ESTs. A total of 61 significantly up- or downregulated (>2.0-fold) genes were identified and further validated by RT-PCR analysis as well as microarray comparisons with a spontaneously ERBB2-overexpressing breast cancer cell line and ERBB2-positive primary breast tumors. The expression and clinical relevance of proteins predicted to be associated with ERBB2 overexpression in breast cancers were analysed together with their clinical relevance by antibody screening using a tissue array. Differentially regulated genes include those involved in cell-matrix interactions including proline 4-hydroxylase (P4HA2), galectin 1 (LGALS1) and galectin 3 (LGALS3), fibronectin 1 (FN1) and p-cadherin (CDH3), and cell proliferation (CRIP1, IGFBP3) and transformation (S100P, S100A4). A number of genes associated with MYC signalling were also differentially expressed, including NDRG1, USF2 and the epithelial membrane proteins 1 and 3 (EMP1, EMP3). These data represent profiles of the transcriptional changes associated with ERBB2-related pathways in the breast, and identify novel and potentially useful targets for prognosis and therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whereas information is rapidly accumulating about the structure and position of genes encoded in the human genome, less is known about the complexity and relative abundance of their expression in individual human cells and tissues. Here, we describe the characteristics of the transcriptomes of two cultured cell lines, HB4a (normal breast epithelium) and HCT-116 (colon adenocarcinoma), using massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS). We generated in excess of 10(7) short signature sequences per cell line, thus providing a comprehensive snapshot of gene expression, within the technical limitations of the method. The number of genes expressed at one copy per cell or more in either of the lines was estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000. The vast majority of the transcripts found in these cells can be mapped to known genes and their polyadenylation variants. Among the genes that could be identified from their signature sequences, approximately 8,500 were expressed by both cell lines, whereas 6,000 showed cellular specificity. Taking into account sequence tags that map uniquely to the genome but not to known transcripts, overall the data are consistent with an upper limit of 17,000 for the total number of genes expressed at more than one copy per cell in one or both of the two cell lines examined.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2003; 100(8):4702-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reports differ as to whether reconstitution of telomerase
activity alone is sufficient for immortalization of different types of
human somatic cells or whether additional activities encoded by other
“immortalizing” genes are also required. Here we show that
ectopic expression of either the catalytic subunit of human telomerase
(hTERT) or a temperature-sensitive mutant (U19tsA58) of simian virus 40
large-tumor antigen alone was not sufficient for immortalization of
freshly isolated normal adult human mammary fibroblasts and endothelial
cells. However, a combination of both genes resulted in the efficient
generation of immortal cell lines irrespective of the order in which
they were introduced or whether they were introduced early or late in
the normal proliferative lifespan of the cultures. The order and timing
of transduction, however, did influence genomic stability. Karyotype
analysis indicated that introduction of both transgenes at early
passage, with hTERT first, yielded diploid cell lines.
Temperature-shift experiments revealed that maintenance of the
immortalized state depended on continued expression of functional
U19tsA58 large-tumor antigen, with hTERT alone unable to maintain
growth at nonpermissive temperatures for U19tsA58 large-tumor
antigen. Such conditional diploid lines may provide a useful
resource for both cell engineering and for studies on immortalization
and in vitro transformation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2001; 98(2):646-651. · 9.74 Impact Factor