Background: The multi-exon CSPP1 gene, encoding for centrosome and microtubule-associated proteins involved in ciliogenesis and cell division, is a candidate oncogene in luminal breast cancer but expression of CSPP1 proteins remained unexplored.
Methods: CSPP1 gene and protein expression was examined in normal mammary tissue, human breast cancer cell lines, and primary breast cancer biopsies from two patient cohorts. Cell type and epitope-dependent subcellular-specific CSPP1 staining pattern in normal mammary gland epithelium and cancer biopsies were correlated to molecular and clinical parameters.
Results: A novel, nuclear localised CSPP1 isoform was exclusively detected in luminal epithelial cells, whereas cytoplasmic CSPP-L was generally expressed in normal mammary epithelium. Luminal cell-related nuclear CSPP1 expression was preserved in type-matched cell lines and carcinomas, and correlated to gene copy number and mRNA expression. In contrast, basal-like carcinomas displayed generally lower CSPP1 mRNA expression. Yet, a subgroup of basal-like breast carcinomas depicted nuclear CSPP1 expression, displayed luminal traits, and differed from nuclear CSPP1 devoid counterparts in expression of eight genes. Eight-gene signature defined groups of basal-like tumours from an independent cohort showed significant differences in survival.
Conclusions: Differential expression of a nuclear CSPP1 isoform identified biologically and clinically distinct subgroups of basal-like breast carcinoma.