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Targeted Proteomics Enables Simultaneous Quantification of Folate Receptor Isoforms and Potential Isoform-based Diagnosis in Breast Cancer.


PMID 26573433

Abstract

The distinct roles of protein isoforms in cancer are becoming increasingly evident. FRα and FRβ, two major isoforms of the folate receptor family, generally have different cellular distribution and tissue specificity. However, the presence of FRβ in breast tumors, where FRα is normally expressed, complicates this situation. Prior to applying any FR isoform-based diagnosis and therapeutics, it is essential to monitor the expression profile of FR isoforms in a more accurate manner. An LC-MS/MS-based targeted proteomics assay was developed and validated in this study because of the lack of suitable methodology for the simultaneous and specific measurement of highly homologous isoforms occurring at low concentrations. FRα and FRβ monitoring was achieved by measuring their surrogate isoform-specific peptides. Five human breast cell lines, isolated macrophages and 60 matched pairs of breast tissue samples were subjected to the analysis. The results indicated that FRβ was overexpressed in tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) but not epithelial cells, in addition to an enhanced level of FRα in breast cancer cells and tissue samples. Moreover, the levels of the FR isoforms were evaluated according to the histology, histopathological features and molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Several positive associations with PR/ER and HER2 status and metastasis were revealed.

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