Differentiation of lobular versus ductal breast carcinomas by expression microarray analysis

Cancer Res. 2003 Nov 1;63(21):7167-75.


Invasive lobular and ductal breast tumors have distinct histologies and clinical presentation. Other than altered expression of E-cadherin, little is known about the underlying biology that distinguishes the tumor subtypes. We used cDNA microarrays to identify genes differentially expressed between lobular and ductal tumors. Unsupervised clustering of tumors failed to distinguish between the two subtypes. Prediction analysis for microarrays (PAM) was able to predict tumor type with an accuracy of 93.7%. Genes that were significantly differentially expressed between the two groups were identified by MaxT permutation analysis using t tests (20 cDNA clones and 10 unique genes), significance analysis for microarrays (33 cDNA clones and 15 genes, at an estimated false discovery rate of 2%), and PAM (31 cDNAs and 15 genes). There were 8 genes identified by all three of these related methods (E-cadherin, survivin, cathepsin B, TPI1, SPRY1, SCYA14, TFAP2B, and thrombospondin 4), and an additional 3 that were identified by significance analysis for microarrays and PAM (osteopontin, HLA-G, and CHC1). To validate the differential expression of these genes, 7 of them were tested by real-time quantitative PCR, which verified that they were differentially expressed in lobular versus ductal tumors. In conclusion, specific changes in gene expression distinguish lobular from ductal breast carcinomas. These genes may be important in understanding the basis of phenotypic differences among breast cancers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / classification
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Multigene Family
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction