Abundance of BRCA1 transcripts in human cancer and lymphoblastoid cell lines carrying BRCA1 germ-line alterations

Int J Cancer. 1997 Nov 27;73(5):715-8. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19971127)73:5<715::aid-ijc17>3.0.co;2-4.


A competitive polymerase chain reaction has been developed for quantitation of BRCA1 mRNA. In human cancer cell lines, the amount of BRCA1 mRNA is relatively low, ranging from 6 to 38 copies per cell. The decay rate of these transcripts in actinomycin-treated cells indicates that the half-life of these molecules is about 4 hr, suggesting that the low concentration of BRCA1 messages is not due to molecular unstability. In human lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from patients carrying germ-line alterations of BRCA1, the amount of BRCA1 mRNA per cell is lowered only in cell lines exhibiting alterations leading to specific loss of transcripts from the mutated allele. These data indicate that the amount of BRCA1 available in these cells can be related directly to the number of "active" allele.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Dactinomycin / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1 / genetics*
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA, Neoplasm / drug effects
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Dactinomycin