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PloS one

Increased macroH2A1.1 expression correlates with poor survival of triple-negative breast cancer patients.


PMID 24911873

Abstract

Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) features appear to be key events in development and progression of breast cancer. Epigenetic modifications contribute to the establishment and maintenance of cancer subclasses, as well as to the EMT process. Whether histone variants contribute to these transformations is not known. We investigated the relative expression levels of histone macroH2A1 splice variants and correlated it with breast cancer status/prognosis/types. To detect differential expression of macroH2A1 variant mRNAs in breast cancer cells and tumor samples, we used the following databases: GEO, EMBL-EBI and publisher databases (may-august 2012). We extracted macroH2A1.1/macroH2A1 mRNA ratios and performed correlation studies on intrinsic molecular subclasses of breast cancer and on molecular characteristics of EMT. Associations between molecular and survival data were determined. We found increased macroH2A1.1/macroH2A1 mRNA ratios to be associated with the claudin-low intrinsic subtype in breast cancer cell lines. At the molecular level this association translates into a positive correlation between macroH2A1 ratios and molecular characteristics of the EMT process. Moreover, untreated Triple Negative Breast Cancers presenting a high macroH2A1.1 mRNA ratio exhibit a poor outcome. These results provide first evidence that macroH2A1.1 could be exploited as an actor in the maintenance of a transient cellular state in EMT progress towards metastatic development of breast tumors.