Simultaneous screening of overexpressed genes in breast cancer for oncogenic drivers and tumor dependencies

Sci Rep. 2024 Jun 9;14(1):13227. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-64297-w.


There are hundreds of genes typically overexpressed in breast cancer cells and it's often assumed that their overexpression contributes to cancer progression. However, the precise proportion of these overexpressed genes contributing to tumorigenicity remains unclear. To address this gap, we undertook a comprehensive screening of a diverse set of seventy-two genes overexpressed in breast cancer. This systematic screening evaluated their potential for inducing malignant transformation and, concurrently, assessed their impact on breast cancer cell proliferation and viability. Select genes including ALDH3B1, CEACAM5, IL8, PYGO2, and WWTR1, exhibited pronounced activity in promoting tumor formation and establishing gene dependencies critical for tumorigenicity. Subsequent investigations revealed that CEACAM5 overexpression triggered the activation of signaling pathways involving β-catenin, Cdk4, and mTOR. Additionally, it conferred a growth advantage independent of exogenous insulin in defined medium and facilitated spheroid expansion by inducing multiple layers of epithelial cells while preserving a hollow lumen. Furthermore, the silencing of CEACAM5 expression synergized with tamoxifen-induced growth inhibition in breast cancer cells. These findings underscore the potential of screening overexpressed genes for both oncogenic drivers and tumor dependencies to expand the repertoire of therapeutic targets for breast cancer treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation* / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Oncogenes
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology
  • beta Catenin / genetics
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • beta Catenin
  • Tamoxifen
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4