, Volume 125, Issue 3, pp 785-795
Date: 09 Dec 2010

Different gene expressions are associated with the different molecular subtypes of inflammatory breast cancer

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The goal of this study was to determine whether gene expression differences exist between inflammatory breast cancers (IBC) and T stage-matched non-IBC patients stratified by hormone receptor and HER2 status. We used Affymetrix GeneChips to analyze 82 tumor samples (25 T4d patients, and 57 T4a-c patients) of newly diagnosed breast cancers. Genes that were differentially expressed between the IBC and non-IBC specimens were identified using the t test, and differential expression of gene sets was assessed using gene set analysis. Three distinct clinical subtypes of IBC and non-IBC were compared: ER-positive/HER2-normal, HER2-amplified, and ER-negative/HER2-normal. When we compared expression data from all IBC with all non-IBC, we found no significant differences after adjusting for multiple testing. When IBC and non-IBC tumors were compared by clinical subtype, however, significant differences emerged. Complement and immune system-related pathways were overexpressed in ER-positive/HER2-normal IBC. Protein translation and mTOR signaling were overexpressed in HER2-amplified IBC. Apoptosis-, neural-, and lipid metabolism-related pathways were overexpressed in ER-negative/HER2-normal IBC compared with non-IBC of the same receptor phenotype. In this T stage-matched case–control study, the survival curves of patients with IBC and non-IBC were similar for all three clinical subtypes. IBC tumors can be divided into molecular and clinical subtypes similar to those of non-IBC. Clinical subtypes of IBC show molecular differences compared with similar subtypes of non-IBC.

Lajos Pusztai and Naoto T. Ueno have contributed equally to this work.