Missense polymorphism (C/T224) in the human cathepsin D pro-fragment determined by polymerase chain reaction--single strand conformational polymorphism analysis and possible consequences in cancer cells

Eur J Cancer. 1994;30A(3):390-4. doi: 10.1016/0959-8049(94)90261-5.


Overexpression of cathepsin D in human breast cancers is associated with a higher risk of relapse and metastasis. Also, pro-enzyme routing is altered in several tumoral mammary cell lines, leading to its hypersecretion. MCF7 cells compared to normal kidney carry a C-->T transition at position 224 in the cathepsin D gene which converts Ala to valine in its pro-fragment. Using polymerase chain reaction-single strand conformational polymorphism analysis (PCR-SSCP), the variant T allele frequency was found to be 23-30%, and equally distributed in cancer and normal cells. Six to nine per cent of genotypes were homozygous T/T, 34-41% were heterozygous T/C and 50-59% were homozygous C/C. Moreover, genotypes were identical in 19 out of 20 matched sets of tumoral mammary cells and normal white blood cells from the same patients. Loss of heterozygosity was noted in 1 case. C/T224 transition is thus not due to a somatic event. However, this missense polymorphism might modify procathepsin D secretion and/or maturation in breast cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Cathepsin D / biosynthesis
  • Cathepsin D / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Cathepsin D