Cancer medicine

Molecular portrait of breast cancer in China reveals comprehensive transcriptomic likeness to Caucasian breast cancer and low prevalence of luminal A subtype.

PMID 25787708


The recent dramatic increase in breast cancer incidence across China with progressive urbanization and economic development has signaled the urgent need for molecular and clinical detailing of breast cancer in the Chinese population. Our analyses of a unique transethnic collection of breast cancer frozen specimens from Shanghai Fudan Cancer Center (Chinese Han) profiled simultaneously with an analogous Caucasian Italian series revealed consistent transcriptomic data lacking in batch effects. The prevalence of Luminal A subtype was significantly lower in Chinese series, impacting the overall prevalence of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease in a large cohort of Chinese/Caucasian patients. Unsupervised and supervised comparison of gene and microRNA (miRNA) profiles of Chinese and Caucasian samples revealed extensive similarity in the comprehensive taxonomy of transcriptional elements regulating breast cancer biology. Partition of gene expression data using gene lists relevant to breast cancer as "intrinsic" and "extracellular matrix" genes identified Chinese and Caucasian subgroups with equivalent global gene and miRNA profiles. These findings indicate that in the Chinese and Caucasian groups, breast neoplasia and the surrounding stromal characteristics undergo the same differentiation and molecular processes. Transcriptional similarity across transethnic cohorts may simplify translational medicine approaches and clinical management of breast cancer patients worldwide.