Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Setting the gene expression base-line for breast cancer research

03.05.2004


For several years, scientists have attempted to identify gene expression changes, using microarrays or ’DNA chips’, in order to understand and predict breast cancer onset, progression, and clinical outcome. Although important insights into breast cancer have been drawn from determining the expression ’profiles’ of thousands of genes in tumors, the interpretation of experimental results has been complicated by the absence of knowledge about the gene expression in ’normal’, non-cancerous, breast cells. However in a paper published today in the journal Cancer Research, a team of scientists from The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, and the Breast Cancer Laboratory of Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) and University College London report that they have now elucidated the expression profiles of over 6000 genes in the two primary types of normal breast cells.



The majority of breast cancers originate in an internal structure of the breast, the terminal duct-lobular unit, which is comprised of two different types of cell; the inner ’luminal’ cells, potential milk-secreting cells, in which cancerous genetic changes occur; and the surrounding basal layer of contractile ’myoepithelial’ cells. The LICR/Breakthrough team separated and purified the two cell types from material from breast reduction surgery, and showed that the cell types have distinct and quite different gene expression profiles.

"The problem is that the vast majority of breast cancer experiments have used tumor samples because that was usually the only material available," explains LICR’s Dr. A. Munro Neville, one of the senior authors of the study. "But tumors actually have different mixtures of normal luminal cells, normal myoepithelial cells, and cancer cells. Now we not only know that these cells have very different gene expression changes, we actually know the base-line expression of genes in both the normal cell types. So we can go back through all the data from the experiments with tumor samples, and discriminate between the genetic changes due to cell type differences and genetic changes due to cancer." Another important finding from the study was the identification of differences between luminal cells taken from primary breast samples and luminal cells cultured in the laboratory to which, for many ethical and logistical reasons, scientists frequently have to resort when performing experiments. The LICR/Breakthrough study results sound a cautionary warning for interpreting microarray data from cultured cells, and may also be helpful in determining between real experimental observations and artefacts relating to in vitro cell culture.


The results will also help to determine smaller and more accurate classifiers of different types of tumor. Microarray analyses have previously been used to distinguish between sub-classes of breast tumors based on the differential expression of many hundreds of genes. For example, one sub-class of tumor was identified as ’basal-like’ because the tumors expressed a series of genes thought to be expressed in myoepithelial, but not luminal cells. The basal-like tumors appeared to be more aggressive, and a retrospective study showed that those patients with basal-like tumors had a poorer prognosis than those with another sub-class. Applying the base-line dataset from the normal cells to the study that originally proposed the classification, allowed the LICR/Breakthrough team to identify a handful of critical ’marker’ genes that may be better able to prospectively diagnose tumor sub-classes, and confer independent prognostic information. These markers might also indicate possible avenues of therapy.

Importantly, according to Dr. Neville, the generation of this more accurate dataset may also have a major impact on patient care. "In order to discriminate between different types of breast cancers in the pathology lab, the surgeon often has to take a sample large enough to incorporate the basal myoepithelial cell layer. If, one day, we could use a fine needle biopsy in conjunction with the novel myoepithelial markers we’ve identified, we could not only potentially improve diagnosis, but also our therapeutic approach."


This study was conducted by researchers from: The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK; the Breast Cancer Laboratory of the University College London Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and University College London, London, UK; Istituto di Anatomia Patologica, Università di Sassari, Italy; Servizio Epidemiologia, Azienda USL 1, Sassari, Italy; Istituto di Chimica Biomolecolare, Alghero, Italy; and The Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK.

Sarah L. White | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.licr.org/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>