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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Quantitation of MYC gene expression in sporadic breast tumors with a real-time reverse transcription-PCR assay.

MYC gene overexpression was identified recently as a downstream step at the end of the Wnt/APC/beta-catenin pathway dysregulation observed in colorectal cancer (T-C. He et al., Science (Washington DC), 281: 1509-1512, 1998). It thus appears that an excess of c-myc protein is a primary cause of numerous cancers. In breast cancer, MYC has been studied mostly at the DNA level because of the poor quality of available antibodies against the protein product. The renewed interest in MYC calls for a sensitive and accurate method for analyzing MYC overexpression in breast tumors. We have developed a real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR assay based on TaqMan fluorescence methodology to quantify the MYC mRNA copy number. We validated the method on a large series of breast tumors. MYC gene overexpression was observed in 29 of 134 (22%) breast tumor RNAs, ranging from 3.2 to 19 times the level in normal breast tissues. These data imply that dysregulated MYC gene expression is potentially involved in the pathogenesis of breast cancer, especially by favoring local cell proliferation. We also found that MYC gene overexpression was rarely due to an increased MYC gene copy number in breast cancer. This new, simple, rapid, and semiautomated method will be useful for screening cancer patients for MYC overexpression and will prove a powerful tool in large, randomized, prospective, cooperative group trials and in the MYC-based therapy project.[1]


  1. Quantitation of MYC gene expression in sporadic breast tumors with a real-time reverse transcription-PCR assay. Bièche, I., Laurendeau, I., Tozlu, S., Olivi, M., Vidaud, D., Lidereau, R., Vidaud, M. Cancer Res. (1999) [Pubmed]
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