A new molecular breast cancer subclass defined from a large scale real-time quantitative RT-PCR study.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Current histo-pathological prognostic factors are not very helpful in predicting the clinical outcome of breast cancer due to the disease's heterogeneity. Molecular profiling using a large panel of genes could help to classify breast tumours and to define signatures which are predictive of their clinical behaviour. METHODS: To this aim, quantitative RT-PCR amplification was used to study the RNA expression levels of 47 genes in 199 primary breast tumours and 6 normal breast tissues. Genes were selected on the basis of their potential implication in hormonal sensitivity of breast tumours. Normalized RT-PCR data were analysed in an unsupervised manner by pairwise hierarchical clustering, and the statistical relevance of the defined subclasses was assessed by Chi2 analysis. The robustness of the selected subgroups was evaluated by classifying an external and independent set of tumours using these Chi2-defined molecular signatures. RESULTS: Hierarchical clustering of gene expression data allowed us to define a series of tumour subgroups that were either reminiscent of previously reported classifications, or represented putative new subtypes. The Chi2 analysis of these subgroups allowed us to define specific molecular signatures for some of them whose reliability was further demonstrated by using the validation data set. A new breast cancer subclass, called subgroup 7, that we defined in that way, was particularly interesting as it gathered tumours with specific bioclinical features including a low rate of recurrence during a 5 year follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: The analysis of the expression of 47 genes in 199 primary breast tumours allowed classifying them into a series of molecular subgroups. The subgroup 7, which has been highlighted by our study, was remarkable as it gathered tumours with specific bioclinical features including a low rate of recurrence. Although this finding should be confirmed by using a larger tumour cohort, it suggests that gene expression profiling using a minimal set of genes may allow the discovery of new subclasses of breast cancer that are characterized by specific molecular signatures and exhibit specific bioclinical features.
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BMC Cancer, BioMed Central, 2007, 7 (1), pp.39. 〈10.1186/1471-2407-7-39〉
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Maïa Chanrion, Hélène Fontaine, Carmen Rodriguez, Vincent Negre, Frédéric Bibeau, et al.. A new molecular breast cancer subclass defined from a large scale real-time quantitative RT-PCR study.. BMC Cancer, BioMed Central, 2007, 7 (1), pp.39. 〈10.1186/1471-2407-7-39〉. 〈inserm-00136912〉

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