About 5-10% of breast cancers are hereditary; a genetically and clinically heterogeneous disease in which several susceptibility genes, including BRCA1, have been identified. While distinct tumour features can be used to estimate the likelihood that a breast tumour is caused by a BRCA1 germline mutation it is not yet possible to categorize a BRCA1 mutated tumour. The aim of the present study is to molecularly classify BRCA1 mutated breast cancers by resolving gene expression patterns of BRCA1 and matched sporadic surgical breast tumour specimens. The expression profiles of 6 frozen breast tumour tissues with a proven BRCA1 gene mutation were weighed against those from 12 patients without a known family history but who had similar clinico-pathological characteristics. In addition two fibroblast cultures, the breast cancer cell-line HCC1937 and its corresponding B-lymphoblastoid cell line (heterozygous for mutation BRCA1 5382insC) and an epithelial ovarian cancer cell line (A2780) were studied. Using a high density membrane based array for screening of RNA isolated from these samples and standard algorithms and software, we were able to distinguish subgroups of sporadic cases and a group consisting mainly of BRCA1-mutated breast tumours. Furthermore this pilot analysis revealed a gene cluster that differentially expressed genes related to cell substrate formation, adhesion, migration and cell organization in BRCA1-mutated tumours compared to sporadic breast tumours.
Copyright 2001 Cancer Research Campaign.