American journal of translational research

Pathway-based analysis of breast cancer.

PMID 24936222


Although HER2 and ER pathways are predominant pathways altered in breast cancer, it is now well accepted that many other signaling pathways are also involved in the pathogenesis of breast cancer. The understanding of these additional pathways may assist in identifying new therapeutic approaches for breast cancer. 13 invasive ductal carcinoma tissues and 5 benign breast tissues were analyzed for the mRNA expression level of 1243 cancer pathway-related genes using SmartChip (WaferGen, CA), a real-time PCR-base method. In addition, the levels of 131 cancer pathway-related proteins and phosphoproteins in 33 paired breast cancers were measured using our innovative Protein Pathway Array. Out of 1,243 mRNAs, 68.7% (854) were detected in breast cancer and 395 mRNAs were statistically significant (fold change >2) between benign and cancer tissues. Of these mRNAs, 105 only expressed in breast cancer tissues and 33 mRNAs only expressed in normal breast tissues. Out of 131 proteins and phosphoproteins, 68% (89) were detected in cancer tissues and 57 proteins were significantly differentiated between tumor and normal tissues. Interestingly, only 3 genes (CDK6, Vimentin and SLUG) showed decreases in both protein and mRNA. Six proteins (BCL6, CCNE1, PCNA, PDK1, SRC and XIAP) were differentially expressed between tumor and normal tissues but no differences were observed at mRNA levels. Analyses of mRNA and protein data using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis showed more than 15 pathways were altered in breast cancer and 6 of which were shared between mRNAs and proteins, including p53, IL17, HGF, NGF, PTEN and PI3K/AKT pathways. There is a broad dysregulation of various pathways in breast cancer both at protein levels and mRNA levels. It is important to note that mRNA expression does not correlate with protein level, suggesting different regulation mechanisms between proteins and mRNAs.