ADAM genes have been associated with cancer, with ADAM expression, genomic rearrangements, and, by implication of ADAM proteins in the altered behavior found in tumor cells. In the present study, increased copy number of the ADAM15 gene in human breast cancer cell lines was demonstrated by fluorescence in situ hybridization. This was not reflected in mRNA levels, however. Instead, the use of alternative ADAM15 exons appeared erratic, leading to aberrant combinations of ADAM15 mRNA isoforms in the cancer cells. Clustering analysis indicated that these isoform patterns were nonrandom, suggesting a failure in the regulation mechanism or mechanisms of the alternative exon usage. Altered regulation of alternative exon usage may provide a useful target for cancer diagnostics development. ADAM15 would be particularly appropriate for breast cancer diagnostics because the various combinations of its three alternatively used exons can be readily examined with a simple, straightforward PCR protocol.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.