Background: Mammaglobin mRNA expression is found in 70-80 % of primary and metastatic breast tumor biopsies. The potential breast tumor markers B305D, B726P and GABAπ complement the expression of mammaglobin. Collectively the expression profile of these four genes could be utilized as a diagnostic and prognostic indicator for breast cancer.
Methods: A multigene RT-PCR assay was established to detect the expression of mammaglobin, GABAπ, B305D and B726P simultaneously. Specific primers and Taqman® probes were used to analyze combined mRNA expression profiles in primary breast tumors and metastatic lymph node specimens.
Results: The multigene RT-PCR assay detected significant expression signals in 27/27 primary and in 50/50 lymph-node-metastatic breast tumor samples. Specificity studies demonstrated no significant expression signal in 27 non-breast cancer lymph nodes, in 22 various normal tissues or in 14 colon tumor samples.
Conclusion: The novel RT-PCR-based assay described here provides a sensitive detection system for disseminated breast tumor cells in lymph nodes. In addition, this multigene assay could also be used to test peripheral blood and bone marrow samples.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women. Tumors of unknown origin account for 5-15% of malignant neoplasms, with 1.5% being breast cancer. An immunohistochemical panel with conventional and newer markers, such as mammaglobin, was selected for the detection of neoplastic cells of breast origin. The specific objectives are: 1) to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the panel, with a special emphasis on the inclusion of the mammaglobin marker, and 2) to compare immunohistochemistry performed on whole tissue sections and on Tissue Micro-Array.
Twenty-nine metastatic breast tumors were included and assumed as tumors of unknown origin. Other 48 biopsies of diverse tissues were selected and assumed as negative controls. Tissue Micro-Array was performed. Immunohistochemistry for mammaglobin, gross cystic disease fluid protein-15, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and cytokeratin 7 was done.
Mammaglobin positive staining was observed in 10/29 cases, in 13/29 cases for gross cystic disease fluid protein-15, in 20/29 cases for estrogen receptor, in 9/29 cases for progesterone receptor, and in 25/29 cases for cytokeratin 7. Among the negative controls, mammaglobin was positive in 2/48, and gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 in 4/48.
The inclusion of MAG antibody in the immunohistochemical panel for the detection of tumors of unknown origin contributed to the detection of metastasis of breast cancer. The diagnostic strategy with the highest positive predictive value (88%) included hormone receptors and mammaglobin in serial manner.
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1366310812718988
Tumors of unknown origin; Breast; Mammaglobin; Immunohistochemistry
Immunomagnetic enrichment followed by RT-PCR (immunobead RT-PCR) is an efficient methodology to identify disseminated carcinoma cells in the blood and bone marrow. The RT-PCR assays must be both specific for the tumor cells and sufficiently sensitive to enable detection of single tumor cells. We have developed a method to test RT-PCR assays for any cancer. This has been investigated using a panel of RT-PCR markers suitable for the detection of breast cancer cells.
In the assay, a single cell line-derived tumor cell is added to 100 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) after which mRNA is isolated and reverse transcribed for RT-PCR analysis. PBMNCs without added tumor cells are used as specificity controls. The previously studied markers epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), mammaglobin 1 (MGB1), epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM/TACSTD1), mucin 1 (MUC1), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) were tested. Two new epithelial-specific markers ELF3 and EphB4 were also tested.
MUC1 was unsuitable as strong amplification was detected in 100 cell PBMNC controls. Expression of ELF3, EphB4, EpCAM, EGFR, CEA and MGB1 was found to be both specific for the tumor cell, as demonstrated by the absence of a signal in most 100 cell PBMNC controls, and sensitive enough to detect a single tumor cell in 100 PBMNCs using a single round of RT-PCR.
ELF3, EphB4, EpCAM, EGFR, CEA and MGB1 are appropriate RT-PCR markers for use in a marker panel to detect disseminated breast cancer cells after immunomagnetic enrichment.
This study compares the sensitivities and specificities of three techniques for the detection of circulating epithelial cells in the blood of patients with breast cancer. The number of circulating epithelial cells present in the blood of 40 patients with metastatic breast cancer and 20 healthy volunteers was determined by: immunomagnetic separation (IMS) and laser scanning cytometry (LSC), cell filtration and LSC and a multimarker real-time RT–PCR assay. Numbers of cytokeratin-positive cells identified and expression of three PCR markers were significantly higher in the blood of patients with breast cancer than in healthy volunteers. Using the upper 95% confidence interval of cells detected in controls to determine positive patient samples: 30% of patients with metastatic breast cancer were positive following cell filtration, 48% following IMS, and 60, 45 and 35% using real-time RT–PCR for cytokeratin 19, mammaglobin and prolactin-inducible peptide. Samples were significantly more likely to be positive for at least one PCR marker than by cell filtration (83 vs 30%, P<0.001) or IMS (83 vs 48%, P<0.001).The use of a multimarker real-time RT–PCR assay was therefore found to be the most sensitive technique for the detection of circulating epithelial cells in the blood of patients with breast cancer.
breast cancer; micrometastases; circulating tumour cells
The detection, enumeration and isolation of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) have considerable potential to influence the clinical management of patients with breast cancer. There is, however, substantial variability in the rates of positive samples using existing detection techniques. The lack of standardisation of technology hampers the implementation of CTC measurement in clinical routine practice.
This study was designed to directly compare three techniques for detecting CTCs in blood samples taken from 76 patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and from 20 healthy controls: the CellSearch CTC System, the AdnaTest Breast Cancer Select/Detect and a previously developed real-time qRT-PCR assay for the detection of CK-19 and mammaglobin transcripts.
As a result, 36% of patients with MBC were positive by the CellSearch System, 22% by the AdnaTest, 26% using RT–PCR for CK-19 and 54% using RT–PCR for mammaglobin. Samples were significantly more likely to be positive for at least one mRNA marker using RT–PCR than using the CellSearch System (P=0.001) or the AdnaTest (P<0.001).
We observed a substantial variation in the detection rates of CTCs in blood from breast cancer patients using three different techniques. A higher rate of positive samples was observed using a combined qRT-PCR approach for CK-19 and mammaglobin, which suggests that this is currently the most sensitive technique for detecting CTCs.
circulating tumour cells; breast cancer; CellSearch System; RT–PCR; AdnaTest
The presence of metastases in lymph nodes is the most powerful prognostic factor in breast cancer patients. Routine histological examination of lymph nodes has limited sensitivity for the detection of breast cancer metastases. The aim of the present study was to develop a multimarker reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT—PCR) assay for the detection of minimal residual disease in sentinel nodes of breast cancer patients. RNA was extracted from 30 sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) obtained from 28 patients, three primary breast cancers (positive controls), three lymph nodes from patients with benign diseases, and peripheral blood lymphocytes of 10 healthy volunteers (negative controls). RT–PCR was performed using the following markers; cytokeratin (CK)-19, NY-BR-1 and mammaglobin B. RT–PCR results were compared to enhanced histopathologic examination and immunohistochemistry (IHC). All three positive controls showed strong PCR amplification for all three markers. None of the 13 negative controls was amplified by any of the three markers. Among the 30 SLN analysed, breast cancer metastases were detected in six SLNs by routine histology, in eight by IHC and in 15 by RT–PCR. We conclude that a multimarker RT–PCR assay probing for NY-BR-1, mammaglobin-B, and CK-19 is more sensitive compared to enhanced pathologic examination. This method may prove to be of value in breast cancer staging and prognosis evaluation.
RT–PCR; breast neoplasms; micrometastases; mammaglobin; NY-BR-1
The diagnostic tools to predict the prognosis in patients suffering from breast cancer (BC) need further improvements. New technological achievements like the gene profiling of circulating tumour cells (CTC) could help identify new prognostic markers in the clinical setting. Furthermore, gene expression patterns of CTC might provide important informations on the mechanisms of tumour cell metastasation.
Materials and methods
We performed realtime-PCR and multiplex-PCR analyses following immunomagnetic separation of CTC. Peripheral blood (PB) samples of 63 patients with breast cancer of various stages were analyzed and compared to a control group of 14 healthy individuals. After reverse-transcription, we performed multiplex PCR using primers for the genes ga733.3, muc-1 and c-erbB2. Mammaglobin1, spdef and c-erbB2 were analyzed applying realtime-PCR.
ga733.2 overexpression was found in 12.7% of breast cancer cases, muc-1 in 15.9%, mgb1 in 9.1% and spdef in 12.1%. In this study, c-erbB2 did not show any significant correlation to BC, possibly due to a highly ambient expression. Besides single gene analyses, gene profiles were additionally evaluated. Highly significant correlations to BC were found in single gene analyses of ga733.2 and muc-1 and in gene profile analyses of ga733.3*muc-1 and GA7 ga733.3*muc-1*mgb1*spdef.
Our study reveals that the single genes ga733.3, muc-1 and the gene profiles ga733.3*muc-1 and ga733.3*3muc-1*mgb1*spdef can serve as markers for the detection of CTC in BC. The multigene analyses found highly positive levels in BC patients. Our study indicates that not single gene analyses but subtle patterns of multiple genes lead to rising accuracy and low loss of specificity in detection of breast cancer cases.
Mamma carcinoma; pcr; gene profile
In cancer patients, the ability to detect disseminated tumour cells in peripheral blood or bone marrow could improve prognosis and consent both early detection of metastatic disease and monitoring of the efficacy of systemic therapy. These objectives remain elusive mainly due to the lack of specific genetic markers for solid tumours. The use of surrogate tissue-specific markers can reduce the specificity of the assays and give rise to a clinically unacceptable false-positive rate. Mammaglobin (MAM) and maspin are two putative breast tissue-specific markers frequently used for detection of occult tumour cells in the peripheral blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes of breast cancer patients. In this study, it was evaluated whether MAM and maspin gene expression may be induced in the normal blood and bone marrow cells exposed to a panel of cytokines, including chemotactic factors (C5a, interleukin (IL)-8), LPS, proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β) and growth factors (IL-3, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor). The experimental data show that all cytokines included in the panel, except for IL-8, were able to induce maspin expression; on the contrary, MAM gene was never induced. These results suggest that MAM is more specific than maspin and that the possible interference of cytokines should be taken into account in interpreting molecular assays for detection of isolated tumour cells.
mammaglobin; maspin; breast cancer; micrometastasis
The aim of the present study was to investigate within ovarian carcinoma and normal ovarian biopsies the gene expression of multiple secretoglobin family members relative to mammaglobin B, which we previously reported as a promising novel ovarian carcinoma prognostic marker.
Using quantitative real-time Reverse Transcription PCR we tested 53 ovarian carcinoma and 30 normal ovaries for the expression of 8 genes belonging to the secretoglobin family: mammaglobin A, lipophilin A, lipophilin B, uteroglobin, HIN-1, UGRP-1, RYD5 and IIS. Next, we decided to expand the LipB gene expression analysis to a further 48 ovarian carcinoma samples, for a total of 101 tumor tissues of various histologies and to study its protein expression by immunohistochemistry in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumors and normal ovaries. Finally, we correlated lipophilin B gene and protein expression to conventional patient clinico-pathological features and outcome.
We found significant mammaglobin A, lipophilin A, lipophilin B and RYD5 gene overexpression in ovarian carcinomas compared to normal ovaries. Lipophilin B mRNA showed a higher presence in tumors (75.4%) compared to normal ovaries (16.6%) and the most significant correlation with mammaglobin B mRNA (rs =0.77, p < 0.001). By immunohistochemical analysis, we showed higher lipophilin B expression in the cytoplasm of tumor cells compared to normal ovaries (p < 0.001). Moreover, lipophilin B gene overexpression was significantly associated with serous histology (serous vs clear cell p = 0.027; serous vs undifferentiated p = 0.007) and lower tumor grade (p = 0.02). Lower LipB mRNA levels (low versus high tertiles) were associated to a shorter progression-free (p = 0.03, HR = 2.2) and disease-free survival (p = 0.02, HR = 2.5) by univariate survival analysis and, importantly, they remain an independent prognostic marker for decreased disease-free (p = 0.001, HR = 3.9) and progression-free survival (p = 0.004, HR = 2.8) in multivariate Cox regression analysis.
The present study represents the first quantitative evaluation of secretoglobin gene expression in normal and neoplastic ovarian tissues. Our results demonstrate lipophilin B gene and protein upregulation in ovarian carcinoma compared to normal ovary. Moreover, lipophilin B gene overexpression correlates with a less aggressive tumor phenotype and represents a novel ovarian carcinoma prognostic factor.
Ovarian carcinoma; Secretoglobins; Lipophilin B; Gene expression; Prognosis; Biomarker
Identification of metastasis and occult micrometastases of breast cancer demands sensitive and specific diagnostic markers. In this study, we assessed the utility of a mouse monoclonal antibody to human mammaglobin for one such purpose. Immunohistochemical stains were performed on paraffin-embedded sections from a total of 284 cases, which consisted of primary breast invasive carcinomas (41 cases) with matched metastases to ipsilateral axillary lymph nodes, metastatic breast carcinoma to liver (1 case) and kidney (1 case), non-breast neoplasms (161 cases), and normal human tissues (39 cases). The results showed 31 of the 41 cases of primary breast cancer with axillary lymph node metastases were positive for mammaglobin (76%). In the meantime, we documented expression of mammaglobin in occasional cases of endometrial carcinoma (17%). Our data further validated that mammaglobin is a valuable diagnostic marker for metastatic carcinoma of breast origin, although endometrial carcinoma should be considered as a major differential diagnosis.
Mammaglobin; breast cancer; metastasis; immunohistochemistry
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have been associated with prognosis especially in breast cancer and have been proposed as a liquid biopsy for repeated follow up examinations. Molecular characterization of CTCs is difficult to address since they are very rare and the amount of available sample is very limited.
We quantified by RT-qPCR CK-19, MAGE-A3, HER-2, TWIST1, hTERT α+β+, and mammaglobin gene transcripts in immunomagnetically positively selected CTCs from 92 breast cancer patients, and 28 healthy individuals. We also compared our results with the CellSearch system in 33 of these patients with early breast cancer.
RT-qPCR is highly sensitive and specific and can detect the expression of each individual gene at the one cell level. None of the genes tested was detected in the group of healthy donors. In 66 operable breast cancer patients, CK-19 was detected in 42.4%, HER-2 in 13.6%, MAGE-A3 in 21.2%, hMAM in 13.6%, TWIST-1 in 42.4%, and hTERT α+β+ in 10.2%. In 26 patients with verified metastasis, CK-19 was detected in 53.8%, HER-2 in 19.2%, MAGE-A3 in 15.4%, hMAM in 30.8%, TWIST-1 in 38.5% and hTERT α+β+in 19.2%. Our preliminary data on the comparison between RT-qPCR and CellSearch in 33 early breast cancer patients showed that RT-qPCR gives more positive results in respect to CellSearch.
Molecular characterization of CTCs has revealed a remarkable heterogeneity of gene expression between breast cancer patients. In a small percentage of patients, CTCs were positive for all six genes tested, while in some patients only one of these genes was expressed. The clinical significance of these findings in early breast cancer remains to be elucidated when the clinical outcome for these patients is known.
A biomarker is a quantifiable laboratory measure of a disease specific biologically relevant molecule that can act as an indicator of a current or future disease state. The purpose of this study is to detect the expression of RNA biomarkers using Cytokeratin 19 (CK-19), Mammaglobin (MAM), Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), Mucin (MUC), C-Myc, erb-B2, a proliferation marker (Ki-67), Epidermal growth factor receptor (Her2/neu) and Estrogen receptor (ER) in Iranian women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. In this study, 90 samples; 60 cancer patients and 30 healthy controls were considered. 73.4 % patients were in stage I/II and 26.6 % were in stage III/IV. Patients were selected prior to the administration of any adjuvant systemic therapy. Total RNA extraction was obtained from peripheral blood of each patient and healthy control. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method was used for detection of mRNA of the selected biomarkers of circulating breast cancer cells in blood. Molecular characterization is assessed as a method for early detection of breast cancer. For this purpose, eleven specific primers were selected and RT-PCR was used. The data of RT-PCR revealed that expression of MUC1, CK19, CEA, MAM, erbB-2, Ki67 and C-Myc biomarkers were significantly different between breast cancer patients and healthy controls. On the other hand, ERα, ERβ and Her2 markers were not significantly different between the two mentioned groups. Biomarkers detection of breast cancer patients could be assessed as a diagnostic factor and its potential for conveying as a prognostic factor require further studies, with a larger number of patients.
Breast cancer; CEA; CK19; C-Myc; ER; erbB-2; Her2; Ki67; MAM; MUC1
Mammaglobin (h-MAM) is expressed mainly by breast epithelial cells, and this feature has been used to detect circulating breast cancer cells and occult metastases in sentinel axillary lymph nodes of breast cancer patients. However, the biological role of mammaglobin is completely unknown.
We studied 128 fresh-frozen breast cancer specimens by means of reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction and quantified their h-MAM mRNA expression. This was then correlated with histological and nuclear grade, oestrogen and progesterone receptor expression, c-erb-B2 and mutant p53 expression, as well as with cellular proliferation measured by means of the Ki67 labelling index, DNA ploidy and S-phase, and finally with the presence or not of invaded axillary nodes in the mastectomy specimen.
In the univariate analysis, high h-MAM expression (above the median for the whole group) correlated significantly (P < 0.05) with oestrogen and progesterone receptor expression, diploid DNA content, low Ki67 labelling index, low nuclear grade and almost significantly (P = 0.058) with the absence of axillary nodal invasion in the mastectomy specimen. In a final, multivariate model, only progesterone receptor expression, diploid DNA content and absence of nodal invasion were found to be independently associated with high h-MAM expression.
All of the features associated with mammaglobin expression reflect, without exception, a less aggressive tumour phenotype. Further studies are needed to clarify whether this is attributable to h-MAM expression itself, or to another mechanism of which mammaglobin expression forms part.
breast; cancer; mammaglobin; reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction
Mammaglobin A (SCGB2A2) and lipophilin B (SCGB1D2), two members of the secretoglobin superfamily, are known to be co-expressed in breast cancer, where their proteins form a covalent complex. Based on the relatively high tissue-specific expression pattern, it has been proposed that the mammaglobin A protein and/or its complex with lipophilin B could be used in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. In view of these clinical implications, the aim of the present study was to analyze the expression of both genes in a large panel of human solid tumors (n = 309), corresponding normal tissues (n = 309) and cell lines (n = 11), in order to evaluate their tissue specific expression and co-expression pattern.
For gene and protein expression analyses, northern blot, dot blot hybridization of matched tumor/normal arrays (cancer profiling arrays), quantitative RT-PCR, non-radioisotopic RNA in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry were used.
Cancer profiling array data demonstrated that mammaglobin A and lipophilin B expression is not restricted to normal and malignant breast tissue. Both genes were abundantly expressed in tumors of the female genital tract, i.e. endometrial, ovarian and cervical cancer. In these four tissues the expression pattern of mammaglobin A and lipophilin B was highly concordant, with both genes being down-, up- or not regulated in the same tissue samples. In breast tissue, mammaglobin A expression was down-regulated in 49% and up-regulated in 12% of breast tumor specimens compared with matching normal tissues, while lipophilin B was down-regulated in 59% and up-regulated in 3% of cases. In endometrial tissue, expression of mammaglobin A and lipophilin B was clearly up-regulated in tumors (47% and 49% respectively). Both genes exhibited down-regulation in 22% of endometrial tumors. The only exceptions to this concordance of mammaglobin A/lipophilin B expression were normal and malignant tissues of prostate and kidney, where only lipophilin B was abundantly expressed and mammaglobin A was entirely absent. RNA in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry confirmed expression of mammaglobin A on a cellular level in endometrial and cervical cancer and their corresponding normal tissues.
Altogether, these data suggest that expression of mammaglobin A and lipophilin B might be controlled in different tissues by the same regulatory transcriptional mechanisms. Diagnostic assays based on mammaglobin A expression and/or the mammaglobin A/lipophilin B complex appear to be less specific for breast cancer, but with a broader spectrum of potential applications, which includes gynecologic malignancies.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play an important role in controlling antitumor T-cell responses and hence represent a considerable obstacle for cancer immunotherapy. The abundance of specific Treg populations in cancer patients has been poorly analyzed so far. Here, we demonstrate that in breast cancer patients, Tregs often control spontaneous effector memory T-cell responses against mammaglobin, a common breast tissue-associated antigen that is overexpressed by breast carcinoma. Using functional assays, we identified a HLA-DRB1*04:01- and HLA-DRB1*07:01-restricted epitope of mammaglobin (mam34–48) that was frequently recognized by Tregs isolated from breast cancer patients. Using mam34–48-labeled HLA Class II tetramers, we quantified mammaglobin-specific Tregs and CD4+ conventional T (Tcon) cells in breast carcinoma patients as well as in healthy individuals. Both mammaglobin-specific Tregs and Tcon cells were expanded in breast cancer patients, each constituting approximately 0.2% of their respective cell subpopulations. Conversely, mammaglobin-specific Tregs and CD4+ Tcon cells were rare in healthy individuals (0.07%). Thus, we provide here for the first time evidence supporting the expansion of breast tissue-specific Tregs and CD4+ Tcon cells in breast cancer patients. In addition, we substantiate the potential implications of breast tissue-specific Tregs in the suppression of antitumor immune responses in breast cancer patients. The HLA Class II tetramers used in this study may constitute a valuable tool to elucidate the role of antigen-specific Tregs in breast cancer immunity and to monitor breast cancer-specific CD4+ T cells.
breast cancer; mammaglobin; HLA Class II; multimer; regulatory T cells; suppression; tetramer; Tregs; tumor-specific T cells
The aim of the present study was to detect the expression of human mammaglobin (hMAM) mRNA in the bone marrow (BM) of patients with breast cancer and determine the relationship between micrometastasis and clinicopathological parameters as well as selected molecular markers and breast cancer prognosis. The expression of hMAM mRNA in the BM of patients with breast cancer was determined by RT-PCR. The expression of ER, PR and Cath-D in cancer tissues was detected by immunohistochemistry. A positive expression rate for hMAM of 38.2% in 102 patients with stage I–III breast cancer was found. The expression of hMAM was higher in patients with T2–3 (>2 cm) tumors than in those with T1 tumors (≤2 cm) (χ2=19.20, P=0.001) and in patients with stage II or III tumors than in patients with stage I tumors (χ2=15.101, P=0.001). The expression of hMAM in the BM of breast cancer patients categorized as grade 1 was lower than that in those of grade 2 or 3 (χ2=8.522, P=0.014), and hMAM expression was related to the pathological type of tumor (χ2=6.892, P=0.032) and the degree of axillary lymph node metastasis (χ2=14.050, P=0.001). The expression of hMAM in BM was much higher in patients with ER(−) or ER(+) tumors than in those with ER(++ or +++) (χ2=11.800, P=0.003), and those with PR (χ2=8.759, P=0.013). hMAM expression in BM was also significantly positively correlated with Cath-D expression (χ2=6.623, P=0.036). However, no correlation was found between hMAM expression and patient age (χ2=1.056, P=0.304). There was a strong correlation between patients with positive expression of hMAM in the BM and the presence of distant metastases (P=0.009). In conclusion, micrometastasis in the BM correlates with certain clinical pathological parameters and several tumor markers. Patients with positive expression of hMAM in the BM have a greater chance of distant metastasis and poor prognosis. The detection of micrometastasis may be one of the most advantageous markers for predicting the prognosis of breast cancer.
breast cancer; bone marrow micrometastasis; human mammaglobin; biological factor; RT-PCR; immunohistochemistry; prognosis
To investigate the prognostic significance of disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) in bone marrow (BM) from non-metastatic breast cancer patients before and after surgery.
Patients with non-metastatic breast cancer were consecutively recruited to this project during the years 1998–2000. Real-time RT-PCR quantification of a DTC multimarker panel consisting of cytokeratin 19, mammaglobin A and TWIST1 mRNA was performed in BM samples obtained from 154 patients three weeks (BM2) and/or six months after surgery (BM3). The results were compared to previously published data from pre-operative BM analyses for the same patients.
DTCs were identified in post-operative BM samples (BM2 and/or BM3) from 23 (15%) of the 154 patients investigated. During a median follow-up of 98 months, 10 (44%) of these patients experienced systemic relapse as compared to 16 (12%) of 131 DTC-negative patients. Kaplan-Meier estimates of systemic recurrence-free- and breast-cancer specific survival demonstrated significantly shorter survival for patients with persistent DTCs in BM after surgery (p≤0.001). By multivariate Cox regression analyses, persistent DTCs after surgery was an independent predictor of both systemic recurrence-free- (HR = 5.4, p < 0.001) and breast-cancer specific survival (HR = 5.3, p < 0.001). Furthermore, the prognostic value of DTCs in BM was similar for pre- and post surgery samples. However, patients with DTCs both before and after surgery (BM1 and BM2/3) had a particularly poor prognosis (systemic recurrence-free survival: HR = 7.2, p < 0.0001 and breast-cancer specific survival: HR = 8.0, p < 0.0001).
Detection of persistent DTCs in BM samples obtained after surgery identified non-metastatic breast cancer patients at high risk for systemic relapse, and with reduced breast-cancer specific survival. Furthermore, patients with positive DTC status both before and after surgery had a particularly poor prognosis.
Breast cancer; Minimal residual disease; Multimarker real-time PCR; Bone marrow; DTC; prognosis
Nodal status is one of the most important prognostic factors in breast cancer. Established tests such as touch imprint cytology and frozen sections currently used in the intra-operative setting show variations in sensitivity and specificity. This limitation has led to the development of molecular alternatives, such as GeneSearch, a commercial intra-operative real-time quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) assay that allows the surgeon to carry out axillary clearance as a one-step process. Since GeneSearch has been discontinued, we have developed the replacement Metasin assay, which targets the breast epithelial cell markers CK19 and mammaglobin mRNA and identifies metastatic disease in sentinel lymph nodes. The optimised assay can be completed within 32 min (6 min for RNA preparation and 26 min instrument run time), making its use feasible in the intraoperative setting. An analysis by Metasin of 154 archived lymph node homogenates previously analysed by both parallel histology and GeneSearch showed concordance for 148 cases. The sensitivity and specificity of Metasin compared with GeneSearch were 95% (CI 83%–99%) and 97% (CI 91%–99%) respectively; compared with histology they were 95% (CI 83%–99%) and 97% (CI 91%–99%), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of GeneSearch compared with histology were 90% (CI 77%–96%) and 97% (CI 93%–99%) respectively. The positive predictive value of Metasin was 90% and negative predictive value was 98% for both histology and GeneSearch. The positive predictive value of GeneSearch was 92% and the negative predictive value was 97% compared to histology. The discordance rates of Metasin with both GeneSearch and histology were 3.89%. In comparison, the discordance rate of GeneSearch with histology was 4.5%. Metasin’s robustness was independently evaluated on 193 samples previously analysed by GeneSearch from the Jules Bordet Institute, where Metasin yielded comparable results.
Metasin; CK19; sentinel node; metastatic; GeneSearch; intra-operative; OSNA; NICE; Mammaglobin; Cepheid; qPCR; POC; breast; cancer; PBGD; axillary; immunostains; MGB
The use of cell lines in cancer research is strongly dependent on the avoidance of contaminations, the correct attribution of a cell line to the initial primary tumor and stability. Previous studies have identified expression of melanocytic molecular markers in the widely used breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-435. In the present study the three breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435, were systematically analyzed for mRNA and protein expression of major epithelial (cytokeratin isoforms), mammary (mammaglobin) and melanocytic (melan A and S100-protein) markers. Protein expression was identified by immunocytochemistry and quantitative RT-PCR was used to determine mRNA levels. While MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells unambiguously revealed an epithelial/mammary phenotype, MDA-MB-435 cells were found to exhibit epithelial/mammary and melanocytic features dependent on cell density. Subconfluent cells demonstrated epithelial characteristics only, however, densely growing, confluent cells also expressed melanocytic markers. Consistent with gain of melanocytic features, the expression levels of mammaglobin mRNA decreased in these cells. These results indicate that the three cell lines are primarily of epithelial phenotype, however, MDA-MB-435 cells revealed lineage infidelity in dense cultures with a gain in melanocytic phenotype. These characteristics must be taken into consideration when analyzing cancer-relevant genes and their expression profiles in vitro.
in vitro study; breast cancer cell lines; melanocytic phenotype
Adoptive T cell therapy has proven to be beneficial in a number of tumor systems by targeting the relevant tumor antigen. The tumor antigen targeted in our model is Mammaglobin-A, expressed by approximately 80% of human breast tumors. Here we evaluated the use of adoptively transferred Mammaglobin-A specific CD8 T cells in combination with low dose irradiation to induce breast tumor rejection and prevent relapse. We show Mammaglobin-A specific CD8 T cells generated by DNA vaccination with all epitopes (Mammaglobin-A2.1, A2.2, A2.4 and A2.6) and full-length DNA in vivo resulted in heterogeneous T cell populations consisting of both effector and central memory CD8 T cell subsets. Adoptive transfer of spleen cells from all Mammaglobin-A2 immunized mice into tumor-bearing SCID/beige mice induced tumor regression but this anti-tumor response was not sustained long-term. Additionally, we demonstrate that only the adoptive transfer of Mammaglobin-A2 specific CD8 T cells in combination with a single low dose of irradiation prevents tumors from recurring. More importantly we show that this single dose of irradiation results in the down regulation of the macrophage scavenger receptor 1 on dendritic cells within the tumor and reduces lipid uptake by tumor resident dendritic cells potentially enabling the dendritic cells to present tumor antigen more efficiently and aid in tumor clearance. These data reveal the potential for adoptive transfer combined with a single low dose of total body irradiation as a suitable therapy for the treatment of established breast tumors and the prevention of tumor recurrence.
Mammaglobin (MAM) has been used as a specific molecular marker for breast cancer diagnosis. Recently, several groups of researchers proposed a number of therapeutic strategies targeting this molecule. Some of the strategies are based upon an essential but not demonstrated hypothesis – mammaglobin is associated with the surface of breast cancer cells, which strongly disputes the therapeutic strategies.
We conducted a computer-based predictive analysis and identified a small fragment at the N-end of MAM as a potential transmembrane domain. We provided several evidences to demonstrate the presence of the membrane-associated MAM. We isolated the membrane protein components from known MAM positive breast cancer cells (MDA-MB361 and MDA-MB415). We showed that about 22–64% of MAM proteins, depending upon the types of the cancer cells, directly attached on the membrane of breast cancer cells, by Western blotting assays. To directly visualize the presence of the membrane-bound MAM protein, we incubated the MAM positive cancer cells with FITC labeled anti-MAM antibody, and observed clear fluorescent signals on the surface of the cells. In studying the MAM protein distribution in human breast cancer tissues, we first identified two immunostain patterns that are associated with the membrane-bound MAM: the membrane stain pattern and luminary surface stain pattern. To test whether the membrane-associated MAM can serve as a molecular target for drug delivery, we conjugated anti-MAM antibody to human low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and loaded doxorubicin (Dox) in the core of LDL. Specific binding and cytotoxicity of the MAM targeted and Dox loaded LDL was tested in the MAM positive breast cancer cells in vitro.
We first showed that some of MAM protein directly associated with the surface of breast cancer cells. The membrane-associated MAM protein may be utilized as a useful molecular marker for breast cancer targeted drug delivery.
We hypothesized that cells bearing a single inherited “hit” in a tumor suppressor gene express an altered mRNA repertoire that may identify targets for measures that could delay or even prevent progression to carcinoma. We report here on the transcriptomes of primary breast and ovarian epithelial cells cultured from BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation-carriers and controls. Our comparison analyses identified multiple changes in gene expression, in both tissues for both mutations, that were validated independently validated by real-time RT-PCR analysis. Several of the differentially expressed genes had been previously proposed as cancer markers, including mammaglobin in breast cancer and serum amyloid in ovarian cancer. These findings demonstrate that heterozygosity for a mutant tumor suppressor gene can alter the expression profiles of phenotypically normal epithelial cells in a gene-specific manner; these detectable effects of “one-hit” represent early molecular changes in tumorigenesis that may serve as novel biomarkers of cancer risk and as targets for chemoprevention.
Breast cancer; Gynecological cancers: ovarian; BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation; Tumor suppressor gene; Single-hit mutation; Transcriptome; Biomarkers
Mammaglobin-A (Mam-A) is a 10 kD secretory protein that is overexpressed in 80% of primary and metastatic human breast cancers. Previous studies from our laboratory demonstrated that Mam-A cDNA vaccine can induce Mam-A specific CD8 T-cell responses and mediate regression of human breast cancer xenografts in NOD/SCID mice. In this report, we present our results on a phase I clinical trial of a Mam-A cDNA vaccination in breast cancer patients with stage-IV metastatic disease, including the impact of vaccination on the expression of the inducible co-stimulator molecule (ICOS) on CD4 T cells. Specimens from seven patients with stage IV metastatic cancer were available for these analyses. Patients were vaccinated with a Mam-A cDNA vaccine on days 0, 28 and 56, and immune responses were assessed at serial time points following vaccination. At six months following the first vaccination, flow cytometric analysis demonstrated a significant increase in the frequency of CD4+ICOShi T cells from 5 ± 2% pre-vaccination to 23 ± 4% (p<0.001), with a concomitant decrease in the frequency of CD4+Foxp3+ T cells (Treg) from 19 ± 6% to 10 ± 5% (p<0.05). ELISpot analysis of CD4+ICOShi sorted T-cells demonstrated that following vaccination the cytokines produced by Mam-A-specific T cells switched from IL-10 (78 ± 21 spm pre-vaccination to 32 ± 14 spm 5 months post-vaccine p<0.001) to IFN-γ (12 ± 6 spm pre-vaccination to 124 ± 31 spm 5 months post-vaccine p<0.001). The ratio of CD4+ICOShi T cells to CD4+Foxp3+ T cells increased from 0.37 ± 0.12 prior to vaccination to 2.3 ± 0.72 (p=0.021) following vaccination. Further, these activated CD4+ ICOShi T-cells induced preferential lysis of human breast cancer cells expressing Mam-A protein. We conclude that mammaglobin-A cDNA vaccination is associated with specific expansion and activation of CD4+ICOShi T cells, with a concomitant decrease in Treg frequency. These encouraging results strongly suggest that Mam-A cDNA vaccination can induce antitumor immunity in breast cancer patients.
DNA Vaccine; Mammaglobin-A; Breast Cancer; T-cells; ICOS
Mammaglobin-A (MGBA), a 10-kD protein, is over expressed in 80% of primary and metastatic human breast cancers. Breast cancer patients demonstrate high frequencies of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) specific to MGBA. Defining CD8+ CTL responses to HLA class I-restricted MGBA-derived epitopes assumes significance in the context of our ongoing efforts to clinically translate vaccine strategies targeting MGBA for prevention and/or treatment of human breast cancers. In this study, we define the CD8+ CTL response to MGBA-derived candidate epitopes presented in the context of HLA-B7, which has a frequency of 17.7% in Caucasian and 15.5% in African American populations. We identified seven MGBA-derived candidate epitopes with high predicted binding scores for HLA-B7 using a computer algorithm. Membrane stabilization studies with TAP-deficient T2 cells transfected with HLA-B7 indicated that MGBA B7.3 (VSKTEYKEL), B7.6 (KLLMVLMLA), B7.7 (NPQVSKTEY), and B7.1 (YAGSGCPLL) have the highest HLA-B7 binding affinities. Further, two CD8+ CTL cell lines generated in vitro against T2.B7 cells individually loaded with MGBA-derived candidate epitopes showed significant cytotoxic activity against MGBA B7.1, B7.3, B7.6, and B7.7. In addition, the same CD8+ CTL lines lysed the HLA-B7+/MGBA+ human breast cancer cell line DU-4475 but had no significant cytotoxicity against HLA-B7− or MGBA− breast cancer cell lines. Cold-target inhibition studies strongly suggest that MGBA B7.3 is an immunodominant epitope. In summary, our results define HLA-B7-restriced, MGBA-derived, CD8+ CTL epitopes with all of the necessary features for developing novel vaccine strategies against HLA-B7 expressing breast cancer patients.
Vaccine; CD8 T cell; Mammaglobin-A
In addition to estrogen and progesterone receptors, gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 (GCDFP-15) and mammaglobin (MAM) are the most common markers to identify breast origin by immunohistochemistry (IHC). GCDFP-15 expression has been reported in approximately 60% of breast carcinomas and MAM expression in approximately 80%. Data on their expression in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) are very limited. In this study, we examined the expression of these markers in TNBC to determine their utility in pathologic diagnosis.
Methods and Results
We studied their IHC expression in 63 primary and 118 metastatic TNBCs. GCDFP-15 staining was present in 14% of primary and 21% of metastatic TNBCs. MAM staining was present in 25% of primary and 41% of metastatic TNBCs. The expression frequency of GCDFP-15 and/or MAM was 30% in primary and 43% in metastatic TNBCs, and many positive tumors had only focal staining.
Staining for GCDFP-15 and/or MAM in triple-negative carcinomas helps confirm breast origin, but most tumors in this subgroup of breast carcinomas lack expression of either marker.
GCDFP-15; mammaglobin; triple-negative; immunohistochemistry