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

Androgen pathway dysregulation in BRCA1-mutated breast tumors.

BACKGROUND: Using array analysis for screening RNA from BRCA1-mutated and sporadic breast tumors, we observed that AIGF/FGF-8 expression was lost in BRCA1-mutated breast tumors. Since this growth factor is induced by androgens, we studied the androgen receptor (AR) expression in BRCA-mutated tumors and in matched sporadic breast tumors. METHODS: Paraffin embedded breast tumors of carriers of a BRCA1 mutation (n=41, median age of patients at time of surgery was 41 years [range 28-59 years]) or a BRCA2 mutation (n=14, median age 41 years [range 31-85 years]) were analyzed for the presence of ER-alpha, PR, P53 and AR using standard immunohistochemical techniques. All statistical tests used, Pearson chi2 and Fisher exact, were two-sided. RESULTS: The AR was only present in 12% of BRCA1-mutated tumors, with mutations located at the C-terminal half of the BRCA1-gene. The AR expression was significantly more prevalent, however, in a series of 61 sporadic breast tumors (80%) and in BRCA2-mutated tumors (50%). In contrast to an increased percentage of p53 positive cells, in 66% of the BRCA1-mutated tumors, the ER-alpha expression was observed only in 25% and the PR in 13% of these specimens. The three steroid hormone receptors were expressed in about half of the BRCA2-mutated specimens studied. CONCLUSIONS: Our data add to the emerging evidence that the biological phenotype of BRCA1-associated tumors may be different from BRCA2 and non-hereditary cases. The loss of the AR expression, as shown by immunohistochemistry, together with the observed loss of other steroid hormone receptors in BRCA1-mutated tumors may lead to a hormone-independent growth or to anti-hormone resistant growth of these tumors.[1]


  1. Androgen pathway dysregulation in BRCA1-mutated breast tumors. Berns, E.M., Dirkzwager-Kiel, M.J., Kuenen-Boumeester, V., Timmermans, M., Verhoog, L.C., van den Ouweland, A.M., Meijer-Heijboer, H., Klijn, J.G., van der Kwast, T.H. Breast Cancer Res. Treat. (2003) [Pubmed]
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